Miniature Art

 Jagattarini's miniature work

 

Even according to the standards recognised by authorities in the field of miniature art, Jagattarini Dasi’s exhibits are unique. Whereas the standard scale of reduction that most other miniature artists work to is 1:12, Jagattarini has chosen to produce all her work to a scale of 1:72.

This scale of reproduction presents unique challenges at every step of the artistic process. Let alone the challenges involved in achieving fine artistic detail at such an extreme proportion of reduction, even the task of sourcing out suitably proportioned raw materials and resources is a great challenge in itself. And of course there are also unique obstacles to be tackled when publicly presenting such finely detailed miniature work as artistic exhibits.

 

 

The majority of the figurines used in Jagattarini’s dioramas are cast out of moulding clay. The original moulds are themselves handmade by Jagattarini, and after the casting process, each figure is individually sculptured to manifest unique characteristics and personal details. Next they are fired, and then each figure is intricately handpainted. Some of Jagattarini’s exhibits feature as many as 200 of these individually handcrafted figures!

 

The settings for each of her exhibits involve equally intricate processes of construction. Utilising a variety of mediums such as textiles, timber, and sequential lighting systems, each setting is designed to capture the specific atmosphere of the story being depicted. Originating from ancient India’s Vedic tradition, many of these stories are set in the wondrous Vrindaban Forest of Enchantment, wherein the forest groves are described to be full of every variety of fruit and flower and the forest floor is said to be inlaid with effulgent jewels! Needless to say, recreating such enchanting atmospheres at a scale of 1:72 can be quite a challenge!

Miniature Art - The Peacock Dance

The Peacock Dance is based on an ancient spiritual tale well known to the local people of Vrindaban. The work features an enchanting natural vista with an active water feature set inside a large terracotta pot. The pot represents the simplicity of the rural village life of Vrindaban, and the placement of the diorama within the pot represents the vibrant spirituality that permeates every aspect of Vrindaban life.

The work won First Prize at the 2001 Annual Perth Miniature Fair.

Miniature Art - Vrindavana Inspiration

Jagattarini, her husband Bhurijana and their two children resided in the holy land of Vrindavan, Northern India, for 13 years.

Vrindaban is recognised as a sacred place of spiritual pilgrimage for thousands of people from all over the Indian subcontinent. Despite the perilous progressive intrusion of modern civilisation, Vrindaban remains to this day a region of inherent natural scenic beauty.

There are thousands of ancient temples and shrines throughout the region. The worship of the deity in these temples is an integral part of local daily life. Upon completing their routine daily duties, local villagers assemble every evening to offer their prayers and perform traditional song and dance in the temple.

While living in Vrindavan, Jagattarini taught art to young children in the Hare Krishna school established by her spiritual master, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In her spare time, she regularly journeyed by local transport to significant holy places throughout the outlying Braja District. These places were more remote, and thus they were even less tainted by Western influence.

The attractive natural environment, the simple agrarian lifestyle of the local people, and the deep spiritual culture which thoroughly permeates the entire atmosphere of Vrindaban were all sources of great inspiration for Jagattarini’s artistic propensities. She moved amongst the people and places of the region collecting resources and inspiration for her art work.

Miniature Art - History

Jagattarini Dasi (Janne Weinstein) originally hails from Melbourne. Upon leaving school, she chose to pursue a career in acting. After some initial success in theatre, television and film in Australia, she headed overseas to pursue further challenges in Hollywood.

However, It was during this period that Jagattarini began looking for a deeper experience in life than the glamour show business could offer, and her strong spiritual yearnings lead her to a meeting with the founder of the international Hare Krishna Movement, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Then, through her connections with the Movement, Jagattarini met her husband, Bhurijana, and together they pioneered a Krishna centre in Hong Kong.

Jagattarini’s life as a Hare Krishna devotee has always been characterised by her desire to harmonise her spirituality with her natural artistic talents. Utilising her background of experience in theatre, Jagattarini took to puppeteering and produced a series of performances based on the spiritual culture of ancient Vedic India. Utilising a variety of mediums, Jagattarini handcrafted puppets and performed live on stage as well as producing two series of puppet shows for television with ITV in America .

In 1983 Jagattarini and her husband moved to Northern India, and they spent the next 13 years teaching in an international school established by the Hare Krishna Movement in the holy city of Vrindaban.

Since 1996 Jagattarini, Bhurijana and family have been based here in Perth, where Bhurijana lectures at the local Hare Krishna centre in Bayswater. Jagattarini continues to draw her artistic inspiration from Vrindaban, the spiritual place very dear to her heart, and since 1998 she has been working with a variety of mediums producing miniature three-dimensional diorama exhibits depicting ancient stories from that place.

In May 2002, Jagattarini moved to a 5 acre rural property on the outskirts of Perth where she intends to establish a permanent display of her work.

Miniature Art - Future Directions

Since 1998, Jagattarini Dasi has been focusing her artistic energy on expanding her unique collection of miniature dioramas.

Seeking an effective presentation forum for these exhibits, in early 2001 Jagattarini commenced a renovation project on a 16 foot caravan. Fully equipped with lighting and a sound system, the caravan was transformed into a mobile diorama gallery.

Recognising the need for a more permanent display venue, in May 2002 Jagattarini moved to a rural property in the beautiful Swan Valley region of Western Australia. The property has been named Sri Gopinatha Dhama, and it is here that Jagattarini is presently working on her latest project, the Gopinatha Dhama Miniature Diorama Exhibit.

Aside from presenting many of the works previously displayed in Jagattarini’s mobile diorama gallery, the exhibit will also feature a separate display area dedicated to other holy places in India.

Aside from experiencing the land of Vrindaban, visitors to the exhibit will also take in the region known as Mayapur in West Bengal, and the famous township of Jagannath Puri, located on the Eastern seaboard of the State of Orissa.

Utilising photographic portrayals and three-dimensional displays, Jagattarini will depict the unique moods and atmospheres of each holy place.