In the present booklet of poems, translations, and paintings, as a painter and minor poet, I set out to inquire and explore the form, extent, and constraints involved in a ‘lingual-to-visual’ rendering process. The included sixteen paintings are the result of this quest into the prospects of visual translation, trying to find out if such visual enactments of poetic texts could be seen as its example.
I chose to work from the poetic texts of Mirza Ghalib,…
…The main form of Ghalib’s poetry is the Ghazal, … usually contains five to seven couplets called Shers…
My lingual-to-visual translation process has its foundations in the Eastern psyche… …system of mutual correspondence between the word and the image …a natural choice of an autobiographical and figurative depiction, typical to the nature of my artistic pursuits so far.
From his rich poetry, I selected four of Ghalib’s Ghazals…
…muses behind the initiation of an art…
…the translations from Urdu to English has helped me in rendering the poems into paintings. The medium of Egg-Tempera, …
After repeated applications of ultra-thin colour glazes for more than 300 times, gradually the final painted surface emerges… original Urdu text as calligraphy followed by its Roman Urdu transliteration and then the English translation. Next comes the painting. In tune with it, I arrived at a title for each painting. These four titles later formed a poem, corresponding to the essence of the Ghazal…
I want to dedicate this book to my parents, my gurus, my husband Rajvinder Singh and our daughter Nuria Singh. I am indebted to Johanna Domokos for believing strongly in my translation process and transferences therein. By convincing Sabira Ståhlberg to become the other editor, she has ensured the right path to bring them forth to the connoisseurs of fine arts.
I thank my translator Tatjana Krzemien deeply for arriving very consciously at her wonderful German translation these difficult poetic texts demanded, and Lea Salmon whom she consulted. I must also thank the calligraphist, Faizan Khan, for scripting the original Urdu text of the poems in a very short time. He also corrected the nuances of my Urdu Roman transliterations included here for the readers otherwise well versed in spoken Urdu.
Berlin/New Delhi in March 2018
Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Jap Ji Sahib: Manifestations of the Magnificent– Rendered by Prof. Dr. Jyotika Sehgal. November 2019