Story-telling in Black and White

Laleh Torabi 
Germany

“Very friendly and helpful. Nice and friendly rooms. Nice fabrics. Simple but very tasty (food). Very considerate. Everybody is cared for individually.”

Laleh Torabi (LT) is a visual artist; she draws and tells stories.LT in Sari

LT lt_works03LT believes that each step, each encounter, each story enriches her vision.  She carefully listen to this new world and culture unfolding to her.

Every instance or detail may become part of that which transforms and emerges in her work on paper. She has experienced that Ma Ganga has a strong impact on her as well as the aura of the mighty mountains, the incredible nature and the presence of the divine. The iconography of traditional paintings, manuscripts and sculptures, the use of form, pattern and scriptLT lt_works04 might find way into her visual language.

From what she has experienced in India so far, music and mantras, language and scripts are touching and inspiring her thoroughly. The preparation of natural colours and dyes or the arrangement of flowers interest her as well.

Art made before coming to AZIMVTH

Proto Anime Cut. Spaces and visions in Japanese animation film. Exhibition view, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. Graphic design of the exhibition Proto Anime Cut at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. The exhibition presents original drawings by the most important directors and illustrators of Japanese animated films.

LT lt_works02

LT lt_works01

Projects at AZIMVTH

At AZIMVTH Ashram, she aimed to deepen her Yoga practice, to understand philosophy and practicing mantra japa (repetitive chants). She attempted to get insights into spiritual practices and their meanings, about rituals and the elements connected to them.

She trained in Sun Salutaiones Yoga, practiced Aum and mantra chanting. She already knew a few mantras. She used to take regular walks. LT liked the relaxation Asanas, like Shavasana.

Project A: Calligraphy

LT made calligraphy-art of some mantras. An example of the one with Mantra ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah’ (May All Be Happy) is shown below.

LT Shanti Mantra - Sarve

Project B: Mystical Trees

LT made artistic rendition of several trees, leaves, and other flora. Two examples are shown below.

It is a tri-foliate leaf of the Beil tree that is  dear to Lord Shiva.

The intricate drawing of the tree is inspired with a very old tree at the memorial having the last remains of Lahiri Mahashaya, the Guru of the Guru of Swami Paramhansa Yogananda who wrote ‘The Autobiography of A Yogi’. Steve Jobs’ parting gift for all who came for the service after the cremation was a copy of this book.

LT Beil Patra

LT Tree

LT made a lot of devotional art.

Impact and Next Levels

After being back in Germany, she plans to invite her artist friends to big Indian dinners and tell all about her experiences, have an exhibition with the work created in Haridwar and / or make a publication, give talks about her experience, do workshops. And do LT Posing with Tree Illustrationkirtan, devotional group singing involving responses.

Presentations of her artworks in the future are likely to include works created in India.

LT has worked with institutions like Universität der Künste Berlin, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, transmediale festival for art and digital culture Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Prinzessinnengärten, as well different galleries, museums and publishing houses. She regularly teaches art seminars and workshops. Besides the art context she would like to emphasise that the field of Yoga and spirituality is important to her and that she likes working with children within her neighbourhood or at schools with different social backgrounds.

Passing on ideas, knowledge and joy in those fields seems equally important to her.

She gifted two of her art-works to AZIMVTH Ashram.

“Great morning ritual. Good help, good overview, background stories, getting around.”