Butail began her career in fashion and is a self taught artist. Her work usually takes a abstract form. Butail’s artistic language is an articulation of her subconscious thoughts drawn from her own experiences of life after she lost her father when she was still in school. Her study of some parts of Rig Veda, the book of knowledge and other ancient Indian literature exposed her to the mythological tale of *Martand, the 8th and youngest son of the Celestial Mother, Goddess Aditi. Martand was cast away for being the Anti-Sun or the ‘Black Sun’ as she calls it which led her towards her 100 open book project, A Story Within A Story in Aug2012- Aprl2013, which was a blank book project . Each book was handcrafted with seven pages. The books were slowly filled with peoples’ dialogues. The project saw 500 stories in fifteen languages with still many pages n the books blank.
The installation, Seven Yokings of The Felicity is a manifestation of Goddess Mother Aditi’s other seven sons, also solar beings or Adityas. Each of the seven Adityas represents a quality which when nurtured make the Self whole.
The seven Adityas are:
Amsha: the divinity element present in everyone
Daksh: the duality of consciousness marked by the cycle day and night.
Aryaman: tapas or meditation
Bhaga: share of life or destiny
Varuna: vastness and widening of consciousness
Mitra: friendship and function of joining
Surya Savitri: The composite being of all the other Adityas which brings a state of bliss
Together, the Adityas metaphorically speak of the “minds being yoked to illumination”.
Seven Yokings of The Felicity installation used a cloth of gold (brocade) was produced for the Devi Art Foundation (2015) comprise seven structures clad in robes of ochre, each constructed as a part in a proportional ratio to the seventh and the last. The yoke, drawn again from tailoring vernacular, is a part of fabric stitched or attached to a larger part, and is secured in place as another layer by its seam.The use of woven fabric of gilded threads dates to ancient times. Woven in Varanasi in a north indian weaving city in the exquisite ‘karwa’ technique.
The brocade or “kimkhab”used in this installation has been specially designed on a larger constructed loom of 36” instead of a standard 24”.
The gilded threads have been especially made at the workshop in varanasi with the exact denier required.
*Martand: A Sanskrit word, lit. marta – anda , means mortal-egg, it is a fallen Sun, hidden by the Titans in the cave of darkness, which has to be recovered by the Sacrifice. It means also a bird because birds are first born in the egg which is not alive or which is to be destroyed, as it were, and then they come out of it alive.
Translation by Vladimir Yatsenko, Sanskrit Scholar and Teacher
Kanika Anand with notes from the artist