Gopinatha's Gallery

For the past four years we've been working towards setting up a display-Gallery to offer devotees and guests an introduction to the three dhamas of Mayapura, Jagannatha Puri and Sri Vrindavana dhama.

 

As the first stage in establishing a permanent exhibition of Gopinatha’s miniature dioramas, we commenced plans to renovate an existing double garage at Sri Gopinatha Dhama. If all goes wellwith this initial display, our long term plan is to build a separate gallery facility suitable for a wider audience.In the section of Gopinatha's Place related to GALLERY you can see our efforts taking shape.

 

This is somewhat ambitious for us. Our "crew" of devotees is as small as Gopinathaji Himself!!

 

However, as a small sparrow who pecked away at the ocean to retrieve her eggs drew the attention of Garuda, we are "pecking away" with faith in Gopinatha's special kinds of reciprocation.

 

GOPINATHA'S GALLERY 2002

We came to Gopinatha Dham with the desire to set up a small gallery of works created before 2002, all depictions of Krishna's [Gopinath's] different Vrindavana pastimes.

 

Gopinatha's dioramas [seen here and below] as displayed previously within a specially designed and renovated caravan that became our first small gallery.We wanted a more permanent place to keep them.

 

Many more displays were also waiting...

 

 

We wanted to set up the gallery in the double garage quickly. Work began during 2003. Yet even before the gallery began, two new displays were made during our first year at Gopinatha dham.They are both seen below..

 

JAVAT - KRISHNA PLAYS AN ARTFUL TRICK

 

JAVAT - an artful trick. Krishna,in disguise, goes to meet Radharani.This a well loved pastime of Vrindavana. We made this our offering for Radhastami 2002.

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This year the PERTH MINIATURE SOCIETY held a competiton. They wanted to see a scene made inside a soft drink bottle ! ! Well.....

Both the shape and size of the bottle were very unappealing. We struggled to work this one out, but finally decided to create a piece glorifying the sound of Krishna's flute.

 

 

Although this was a real challenge, somehow we did it and won!

 

 

This meant two more items ready to be displayed in the gallery .

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Meanwhile work was underway to transform

the double garage into Gopinatha's gallery.

[see GOPINATHA'S PLACE ]

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOPINATHA'S GALLERY 2003

Gopinatha's gallery 2003

Vrindavana settings

This year began with anxiety over to Sucirani's health, Art work seemed out of the question.

However I did make a set of altar settings. [small scenes to place on the top level of the altar with a place for Gopinatha] These settings are used in the templeroom on a regular basis. Here is Gopinatha's altar. As you see there are four levels. The top level, represents Vrindavana. It is changed every week.

 

 

Here are some of the new altar settings

 

 

 
 
  

 

 

 

Later four of the most intricate settings became dioramas.

 

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September 2003- Brazil

 

Sucirani and I flew together to Brazil to see if a cure was available. Finding no success we then travelled to Vrindavana.

While in Brazil I worked on a series of pastime displays set within a decorated water bottle. These small works were improvisations using whatever little time and meagre resources were available. They then became a part of my presentation for the Govardhana retreat 2003.

 

 

 

There were six small scenes designed to go inside the bottle one by one.

Ironically these simple pieces became forerunners for a large, more elaborate set of displays which were specially designed to travel to England for a Janmastami exhibition the following year.

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the great artwork–marathon 2004 →

GOPINATHA'S GALLERY 2004

 

2004 - Gopinatha's Artwork travels the world

 

Early in January, Sucirani, now in Vrindavana, departed this world. Sad and uncertain about our future, I returned to Gopinatha dham alone. I waited for a clue how to proceed.

 

Suddenly an email arrived asking us to bring our miniatures, to England. A devotee from the Manor, Sita Rama Prabhu, visited Perth and stayed at Gopinatha dham. He liked the dioramas so much that he felt they would be appreciated as part of their Annual Janmastami festival, at the Manor, which is attended by 50,000 guests.

I was in disbelief. How could we travel with such delicate items? How much work would be required just to set them up, and what if they all broke into pieces on the way?

But he was insistent. Was this Gopinatha's desire?

We thought carefully and became practical. New, transportable dioramas would be required. Practically it was too much work to do all in four months. I immediatly understood that this task was next to impossible.

 

However we were all soon working hard together on a massive day and night marathon.
Eleven dioramas, in three different groups were to be completed. And the biggest of all the dioramas was going to be our new version of
The Lifting of Govardhana Hill.

 

Actually no pictures can capture the minute detail and expanse of this diorama.

So many people present at the exhibition commented on these works.

 

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JANMASTAMI EXHIBITION

 

Part One-Scenes of Vrindavana

 

 

This diorama depicts a wager of love with Krishna and his friends

on one side, and Srimati Radharani and her friends on the other.

 

 

Here Radha and Krishna and their friends perform a

musical concert.

 

 

Here we see a forest picnic. Radha and Krishna are served

by Their loving gopis.

 

 

This is Jhulan, or a swing festival for Radha and Krishna.

 

 

For this set we were using four "altar settings" now embedded with tiny lights and elaborate detailed work. We named this series

Scenes Of Vrindavana .

 

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Part Two- The Beautiful Rasa Dance

 

 

This was our second group of four dioramas which

 depict Radha and Krishna's Rasa Dance, a well known Vrindavana Pastime

 

 

Here Krishna playfully steals the gopi's clothes and then promises to dance with them

 

 

One evening Krishna plays His flute and calls all the gopis.

 

 

Then the Rasa Dance takes place on the bank of the Yamuna river.

 

 

These pastimes are enactments of the spiritual world.

 

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SOME CLOSER VIEWS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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next...Part Three- The lifting of Govardhana Hill →

 

 

 

GOPINATHA'S GALLERY 2004 - continued

JANMASTAMI EXHIBITION

Part Three- The lifting of Govardhana Hill

 

This is the most well known pastime story of Krishna in Vrindavana, and these were the most elaborate dioramas I had ever made.

The main diorama was very large - W 140cm[4ft] xH 80 cms[2½ft] - Now this may not sound so enormous, but remember the scale of miniature work- 1:72 -it was a huge task to fill that volume of space, what to speak of all the work involved in making all the small figures required.

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Three dioramas tell this story

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WORSHIP GOVARDHANA HILL

Krishna sees Nanda Maharaja, his father, preparing to worship Indra, and he requests him instead to hold a festival in honour of Govardhana Hill. Nanda agrees, and a wonderful festival takes place.

 

 

 

This festival was happily observed

by everyone.

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LIFTING GOVARDHANA HILL

However...

Having stopped his worship, Indra was highly offended and decided to show his power by retaliating with force.

Indra sent a devastating storm to destroy Vrindavana. To protect everyone Krishna effortlessly lifts Govardhana hill just like a huge umbrella .

 

Under the hill all the people and cows remains for one week. They are so happy to be with Krishna that they don't even notice Indra's fierce storm.

 

 

 

 

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INDRA'S REPENTANCE

When Indra saw how powerful Krishna was, he came to his senses and realized his mistake. Ashamed and frightened, he brought the heavenly cow Surabhi to approach Krishna on his behalf and ask forgiveness.

Krishna and His friends like to play on Govardhana hill...

 

            

They slide on the rocks                           And hide in the caves
 
                  
 
They swim in the pools                              while the cows graze
 

MEANWHILE 

in a solitary place
 
             
 
INDRA and Surabhi find Krishna alone and beg His forgiveness.
Krishna warns INDRA to be careful of false pride and then he forgives him.
 
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These were the dioramas we took with us to England. Many people who attended the exhibition expressed appreciation for the hard work involved, as well as the colourful depiction of these pastimes

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JANMASTAMI at the MANOR in ENGLAND

Here are a few photos of the Janmastami exhibit at the Manor

The massive Janmastami festival at the Manor takes place in a large grassy field which becomes transformed into a fairground surrounded by tents for this occasion.

We arrived early to assist in setting up the tent dedicated to Gopinatha's dioramas

Every year many volunteers help with the festival setup

Our tent was lined with black cloth which created a non - distracting atmosphere. Much time was taken setting up the hundreds of minute figures in all the displays.

Then we were ready for the crowds

Then a long queue of visitors began continuously passing through the tent in a steady flow.  At times distinguished guests would be given a guided tour and an explanation of the diorama's story.

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Often I noticed children climbing on chairs to get a longer, closer look. It was as if they were able to enter into the diorama's pastime through their eyes and imagination.

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Many people wrote appreciations in the "comments" book.

 

 

 

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Having nothing else to keep me occupied, I sat and watched as the

people file through. It was very satisfying to see the expressions on their faces.

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Unlike the satisfaction of a creative artist, the pleasure I experienced was the result of knowing that Gopinatha Himself was present in the artwork. These are His pastimes and He Himself is their creative force, not me. I was so happy to be able to watch what He was arranging.

Some devotees stopped to talk and share their experiences.

Often I was asked how long this work had taken to complete.

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Or whether the dioramas were for sale

One man offered to pay whatever I wanted. Clearly he was wealthy. He was interested in buying the large Govardhana Lila. Without any hesitation I explained to him that no amount of money would make it possible for me to ever reproduce that pastime diorama again. Since we ourselves were starting a gallery I had to decline his offer.

This visit to the Manor and the success of the exhibition was encouraging

Seeing so many people appreciating the artwork and Gopinatha's Pastimes made our hectic four month marathon worthwhile.

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ART WORK 2005 -2006

 

FESTIVAL ART