The front cover of a graphic narrative of Srila Prabhupadas life.
Propaganda is “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view”. Propaganda is often associated with the psychological mechanisms of influencing and altering the attitude of a population toward a specific cause, position or political agenda in an effort to form a consensus to a standard set of belief patterns.
Propaganda is information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively (perhaps lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded messages or “loaded language” to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is presented. Propaganda is often associated with material prepared by governments, but activist groups and companies can also produce propaganda.
In the 2010s, the term propaganda is associated with a manipulative approach, but propaganda historically was a neutral descriptive term. A wide range of materials and media are used for conveying propaganda messages, which changed as new technologies were invented, including paintings, cartoons, posters, pamphlets, films, radio shows, TV shows, and websites.
The History of Comics and Graphic Narratives
As far as we look back in History Man has used pictures to describe themes to do with life death and the afterlife. The obvious examples are Egyptian paintings such as Those of Isis and Osiris and their struggle against Seth the evil brother.
Those pictures were combined with Hieroglyphic writing which was a form of pictorial lettering which is much like a graphic narrative of today and we cannot go much wrong in examining these examples to see how the expert artists wielded their magic in getting these amazing themes across to an audience which can still view them epochs later.
Then we come to see that within many traditions the theme of who we are and what our purpose on this planet is explored as well of course the most important of our relationship with the Gods.
True Religion is about finding a way to be here in this world and to also help others to go home back to the spiritual world or back to Godhead. Srila Prabhupada said that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. He wanted to portray within his artworks what it is like in a world where there is no birth, death, old age or disease and to help us all realize that we are in fact eternal spiritual souls, spiritual beings. This is the spiritual science of self-realization or the science of Bhakti Yoga. “Bhakti artist claim to be able to give one direct access to the spiritual world, to God and his Kingdom.
The above image is an artwork made by Srila Prabhupadas early disciples in the sixties when Srila Prabhupada exploded as a popular culture icon because of the popularity of his spiritual message. His Divine Grace wowed the young Western audience with his beautiful devotional chanting and wonderful philosophy of love and devotion and his amazing spiritual food and festivals including the incredible Ratha Yatra festivals.
For me the main interest is Sacred art and making it and this wonderful Museum in Belgium is a top place of interest for me at present as is the MOSA in Italy at Villa Vrndavan.
With its roots in ancient Indian and Vaishnava culture, devotees find expression in vibrant colors, striking melodies and enlivening dramatic presentations. In order to recognise and nurture artistic talent, ISKCON has created a community for artists called VANDE ( Vaisnava Arts for a New Devotional Era), The aim to attract the public and patrons of arts through quality presentations. Members sometimes convey their devotion Fine Arts, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cinema, Literature and Architecture.
Dance & Music
ISKCON devotees have shared dynamic musical expression with the world, and many have gone on to become accomplished singers and musicians. Srila Prabhupada’s disciple, Havi das aka Ilan Chester won an award at the Latin Grammys for “best folk or traditional album of the year” for his collection “Tesoros de la música Venezolana” ( Treasures of Venezuelan Music). Hare Krishna temples also regularly host stage performances and teach classes, highlighting classical Indian dance forms, such as Bharata Natyam, Kathak, and Odissi. For instance, Bhakti Kalalayam (Devotional Arts Refuge) Academy in Alachua Florida presents and trains students in several dance forms as a cultured, highly skilled, and beautiful medium to express devotion to the Lord.
Artists within the Hare Krishna movement have created hundreds of original paintings depicting Lord Krishna and His spiritual abode. With their characteristic blend of Eastern and Western styles, these works of art illustrate multiple volumes of books, decorate ISKCON temples, and help to visually present the Krishna tradition.
With innumerable stories from the scriptures, theatre is a powerful medium to exhibit and narrate the deep Vaishnava philosophy. At most of the festivals includes presentations on Ramayana and Krishna Lila with larger than life puppets, martial arts.
Devotees hold the Festival of India tours in Poland, Brazil and India. ISKCON Monk, Bhaktimarga Swami, has built up a steady core group of young actors. For the past fourteen years, he has performed dramas at the Durban Rathayatra festival in South Africa, to an audience of over 3,000. He has also performed annually at Buenos Aires Rathayatra in Argentina, at the Festival of Inspiration in New Vrindaban, West Virginia, and at the Gaura Purnima festival in Mayapur, West Bengal, for many years.
iskcon-templeMany ISKCON temples throughout the world are splendid examples of traditional and neo-Vedic architecture. In Spanish Fork, Utah, the ISKCON temple is modeled after a 15th Century North Indian palace, and boasts elaborately designed arches, columns, verandahs, and waterfalls. In West Virginia, Krishna devotees built a gold-domed temple that was penned “America’s Taj Mahal” by the New York Times. ISKCON has also erected dozens of temples in India which employ classic architectural styles, in major cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai, as well as in sacred pilgrimage towns such as Vrindavana and Mayapur.
With an aim to shed light on the profound philosophy underlying these cultural expressions, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), ISKCON’s affiliated publishing house, has printed and distributed more than 400 million books and magazines. These publications often contain translations from Sanskrit or Bengali, reproductions of rare commentaries, and attractive original illustrations and photographs. Said to be the world’s largest publisher of classic Vaishnava texts, the BBT is renowned as an excellent resource for the study of Indian culture and philosophy.
Session outline – What is a thesis? ,choosing a topic.
Thesis Proposal assignment and 20/40 choice.
PDF submission due May 23rd plus extension.
Resources to look at for next week is http://gurukul.iskondesiretree.com
Exploring how art and illustration particularly graphic narratives is used in teaching `krishna children’-look at Mother Urmillas articles on the above website.