Celebrating the Extraordinary Grandeur of Smallness In the outer limit of ordinary perception lies the beauty of unseen lives. All it takes is attention and knowing how to look. Our oldest stories tell us about a time when all beings—thrushes, trees, mosses, and humans—shared a common language, a language that has been long forgotten. In indigenous ways of knowing, we say that a thing cannot be understood until it is known by all four aspects of being: mind, body, emotion, and spirit. Humans are myopic creatures, we rely on technology to bring the vastness of the universe or the depths of our bodies into our visual sphere. We are often blind to the sparkling reality that is so close to us, not because our eyes cannot see, but because our mind cannot. We do not need technology to see these hidden worlds , only time,patience and attentiveness. Cheyenne wisdom says that the best way to find something is to not go looking for it, but to watch out of the corner of your eye, open to possibility, and what you seek will be revealed. This revelation of suddenly seeing what one was blind to only moments before can be a sublime and humbling experience of the boundaries between our world and the world of another. The unseen is suddenly plain and a whole new world is revealed.
Our artists Aparna Mohindra, Deepti Asthana, Karen Dias, Neeraja D, and Sharmistha Dutta tell the stories of these unseen lives, places, and philosophies that inhabit the liminal boundaries between worlds. Working in Delhi, Dhanushkodi, the jungles of Ponmudi near Trivandrum, Bangalore, and Varanasi, these artists have looked at lives and places with attention and patience. Looking at their work needs attentiveness. We present the possibilities of art to reveal more than the obvious; there are multiple stories in each image. As Neeraja says, if you turn that little stone on the field, a whole new ecosystem will be revealed. If we look and listen to their work, perhaps we will discover a new way of seeing life. “Celebrating the Extraordinary Grandeur of Smallness” derives inspiration from the writings of botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book on mosses.