Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Night of The Glowing Sembar

I bought a book called ‘THE NIGHT LIFE OF TREES’. It’s a book full of intricate silk screen prints made by Ram Singh Urveti, Bhajju Shyam and Durga Bai of the Gond tribe in central India. Each print is accompanied by a story.

Here is one of those stories:


‘In the rainy month of July. A cowherd was looking for a lost
cow along the edge of the forest. The evening grew darker, and
there was no sign of the cow anywhere. The cowherd became
anxious, and the little calf with him cried for her mother.
Together, they wandered into the forest calling out for the
cow and soon they lost their way.  Night fell fast and the black
clouds gathering in the sky confused the cowherd.  He could do
nothing but weep with the calf.

A firefly saw the scene and felt pity for the two lost creatures.
"Follow me," he called to them.  "I think I can lead you to what
you seek"

And so the two walked through the dark forest, led by the lone
blinking light.

And all of a sudden, the cowherd saw a strange vision ahead of
him.  It was a Sembar tree, shining like a jewel in the blackness.
On every leaf,on every branch, sat a firefly.  And under the tree,
Bathed in the glow, was the lost cow.

So to this day, we know that good spirits live in the Sembar tree,
and to this day the cowherd and the firefly are friends.  And if
you happen to be lost in the forest, you should find your way to
the protecting Sembar, glowing like gold in the night'


Here is my painting of the moment of relief when  the cow is seen safe and sound under the tree.

37x 25cm, Gouache on Paper