Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ganesha Woodcut

Ganesha print on Japanese Paper
Karen Fiorito
Ganesha, 2012
Woodcut, 18" x 24"
Edition: 20 

Artist Statement:
The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound, joining the words gaṇa, meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and isha, meaning lord or master. The universe is a group of atoms and different energies. The Lord of all these groups of atoms and energies is Ganesha. He is the supreme consciousness that pervades all  and brings order to the universe.

Ganesha is represented as having a human body with the head of an elephant. The principle qualities of the elephant are wisdom and effortlessness. The enormous head of the elephant signifies wisdom and knowledge. One of Ganesha's 108 names is  Lord of Obstacles. Elephants don't walk around obstacles, neither do they stop at them. They just remove them and keep walking straight on – signifying effortlessness.

Printing the block
Ganesha's body and the implements Ganesha wields are all symbolic.The portrayal of Lord Ganesha as the blend of human and animals parts symbolizes the ideals of perfection as conceived by the Hindu sages and illustrates some philosophical concepts of profound spiritual significance.

Here is a list of some of the symbolism associated with this image  of Ganesha:

  • Big Head – represents supreme wisdom.
  • Large ears – represents listening more
• Small Eyes – means he concentrates
• Small Mouth – means he talks less.
• Long Trunk – represents his intellect.
• One tusk – Means he keeps the good and throws away the bad.
• Large stomach – means he digests all the good and the bad experiences in life.
• Legs – One folded leg up and one leg resting on the ground indicates that he is thinking of the world but at the same time concentrating on God.
• The Plate of Food – means he is indifferent to wealth, power and prosperity.
• The rat looking up at him – means desire and greed are under control.
• Axe – to cut all attachment.
• Lotus – represents enlightenment.
• Blessings – blesses us and protects us from harm so we can reach God.

Ganesha on Rosapina Paper

When one prays to Lord Ganesha then one is asking to connect to the Universal Soul to remove obstacles. Ganesha is given dominion over the Ganas, which is a general term denoting all classes of beings, ranging from insects, animals and humans to the subtle and celestial beings, everything from natural forces like storms and earthquakes, to the elemental qualities like fire and water. Therefore, instead of propitiating each Gana in order to receive their blessings, one bows to their Lord, Sri Ganesha. By receiving His grace, one receives the grace of all. Ganesha removes any potential obstacles and enables our endeavors to succeed.