The first project commissioned in April 2020 after the hard lockdowns for me was none other than the Kambala Buffalo Race, and without a doubt it was full of pent up energy as I am not a man who enjoys sitting inside for 3 weeks straight.
Both the art and the subject matter are something I find very exciting and worth talking about, so first let me give you some background info on the race itself.
This particular race takes place in the Southwestern Indian state of Karnataka by Tuluva landlords in coastal districts collectively known as Tulu Nadu. Kambala comes from 'Kampa-kala' (Kampa meaning muddy field) and Kala (field). Kambala is a sport in which a farmer using a whip, drives Water Buffalo through a sloshy field.
A picture of a farmer racing Buffalo during Kambala
Traditionally, the winning buffaloes were awarded bananas and coconuts, now however, gold, silver and even cash are awarded to winning owners. Kambala attracts large rural crowds (as it has done for the last 300 years) and a well-organized Kambala can draw upwards of 20,000 spectators.
Buffaloes are decorated with colored jhuls, as well as head pieces composed of brass and silver. This unique aspect allowed me the ability to add 3-dimensional elements to this commission to really bring this piece to life.
Alot of energy was expended while I was thrusting paint on the wall to mimic the splashes created by the thundering buffalo.
About halfway through (at like 11:30 pm), Kishore the owner came in and insisted on sharing with me the nostalgic value and cultural importance this piece had to him. He grew up watching this race and wanted to share that heritage with his patrons.
A full view of my 2020 Kambala Buffalo Race Commission
Alot of energy and directional force was used to properly project
paint splashes in order to bring this piece to life
Chopsticks for wooden planks, the former
restaurants mop for the rope harness
Since the subject matter here is quite similar, I decided I would share another lesser-known piece I completed for a Dosa place down the street from my mothers (awe).
Jallikattu (in my opinion), appears to be the original 'Bull Riding' if you will. It can be traced back to the Tamil Classical Period (400 - 100 BC), and is a sport in which participants attempt to grab the bull's large hump in order to try to bring the animal to a stop. Jallikattu is typically practised in January during Pongal celebrations in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu.
Yes, people do get hurt attempting this
David Ji's quick rendition for a pair of clients from Tamil Nadu
Kambala, Jallikattu - what could be next? Onam perhaps? Who knows, not I but somewhere out there someone who is browsing my instagram and scouring my website definitely does. I must admit though, for a time...I was very proud of my rendition of the Kambala Buffalo Race. Perhaps in time I will get to attempt it again with greater skills I have honed over the last while.
Until I write again,