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Songs of the Sun

by Mishtu Austin
Until 30 September 2002 extended run due to popular demand


"All that exists was born from Surya, the God of Gods."

Taken from the Rg Veda

In her batik wall-hangings Mishtu Austin tries to capture and depict the scenery and legends, as well as the magic and music, evoked by the worship of the sun since the dawn of time.

Throughout the world, in shrines and temples, in religious rituals and festivals, in works of art of dazzling beauty and infinite inspiration, the mystery of the solar culture sings out like a hymn to the source of life and joy. Over the ages, in the rock art of Central Asia, the solar symbol has evolved from primitive circular engravings to more complex motifs and designs, like the bull, the mountaingoat, the majestic chariot drawn by radiant horses. The "all seeing-eye" of the sun, that cosmic fire from heaven, pursues its eternal course through the sky and illuminates everything on earth, bringing light and renewal to all aspects of daily life.

Mishtu Austin

The batik process involves applying liquid wax to the fabric as a resist to the dyes. The application can be done both with tsanting, a Javanese instrument for dipping hot wax, and with a brush, and this combination produces a unique effect of fine lines, brush marks and crackled and plain colours. Different textures then emerge as the dyes seep through the wax and blend in seamless harmony. The challenge for the artist is to control the uncontrollable.