The Grand Chindit Ball
Posted on 22nd October 2021 at 10:09
After such a long time locked up, my Brigade decided to throw a party. The Mess committee voted for the exotic theme of Indian Summer, which goes very well with our Burma heritage, and asked me to make some appropriate art. If I had been at the meeting I would have insisted on 'Burma Summer' but poor Reservists don't often get a stab at chipping in.
I was asked to paint an Indian style 'Seaside cut-out photo board'. I was astonished - what kind of Ball were they trying to put on?! The most obvious caricatures to paint for an Indian ball would be very easy to misinterpret. My Brigade is rather PC so I said 'No', on the spot. I told them I would paint atmospheric murals of the Romantic Subcontinent. So I ordered some seven foot tall sheets of ply wood from B&Q.
One month later some little 3 foot boards turned up at the guard room, so I almost felt like giving up. After some pondering, I remembered that there were still some photos on the mess wall that were only there to fill the main state drawing room, and so why don't I use these small boards to paint mini murals that could permanently replace these photos. So I dug out my books on old India and found paintings by Thomas and William Daniell that perfectly illustrated the charm of a lightly populated India of 1820s and fell in love with the project all over again.
In the end I painted 4 mini murals in Acrylic, two of which are still hanging in the mess main 'Drawing room'. The Ball was so frenetic that most of the guests didn't even notice them. I spent the evening singing myself hoarse by the piano. At least there is still evidence of that Chindit ball to this very day.
Tagged as: 1820, British Imperial art, India 1820, India art, Indian Temple, Madras, mural, mural painting
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