“A for Apple” is a phrase synonymous with everyone’s childhood. One of the first words taught while learning the English language, apples are delightful, rosy fruit’s that, in their best form, grow till they are big and juicy. It is a humble fruit that tastes crisp and clean, almost like the cold sunshine during autumn. By keeping the doctor away and helping Sir Isaac Newton discover the Universal Laws of Gravitation, the apple influences our lives a little more than we can care to imagine.
Canvas under Apples: Manmeet Kaur
People might try painting and creating the best replication of an apple. Or, they might show people a new way of seeing an apple. Manmeet Kaur displays, quite magnificently, various perspectives using the apple as a nucleus. She started painting using apples as her theme in the midst of her university days while achieving her Master’s degree.
She spent a lot of time discussing the theme with her friends; she spoke about her fascination with the very form of the fruit. On the canvas, she wishes to convey its connection and relationship with herself and her emotions. Slowly, but surely, ideas took root and she let her paintings evolve into various facades.
Many artists use apples in their paintings to depict emotions of passion such as sex and desire. However Manmeet uses the fruit to depict her unfulfilled wishes. In the paintings, she constantly shows half eaten apples where she expresses her desires that have been ‘eaten away’ by someone else. She also gives colour to the desire of a woman, who is being ‘nibbled at’ from all sides, and yet she puts up a brave front and smiles.
Apples appear in many traditions supplying an aura of mysticism, the most popular of which is the ‘forbidden fruit’. She paints the apple as a symbol of desire, feelings, and womenfolk, almost a complete perspective of femininity as she believes (with good cause) that the apple is a valid synonym of love and sexuality. At times, the artist may use the apple as an emblem for ironic effect or as a stock element of representational vocabulary. The aesthetics of an apple are related to everyday desires, and she is extremely passionate about them. This takes the form of striking abstract images of such simple yet complex emotions.
The Apple Parable: Symbology
In almost every culture, the apple is ripe with symbolic meaning and mythical folklore. Christianity offers us the ‘paradise apple’ of which Eve partook, gave to Adam and only then did their eyes open. According to Christianity, were it not for Eve’s transgression, mankind would never have been born.
The Scandinavians had their deity, Iduna which means ‘at one-ness’. According to some legends, she tended the apple groves at Asgard (land of the immortals). The other Gods went there each night to renew themselves and their immortality depended on the partaking of Iduna’s apples. Apple trees grow abundant fruit, and thus it is also associated with the principles of generosity and abundance. It is symbolic of love and fertility, and is considered an aphrodisiac.
Like Asgard, Avalon was another place for the Immortals and it was believed that the Celtic heroes like King Arthur did not die but sailed through the mist to reach Avalon which was known as the “Apple Island”. The name came from the Welsh word “afal” or apple. Irish mythological heroes were summoned to Emain Ablach, (Emain of the Apple Trees) or the Avalon equivalent, “Avallach”.
In addition to being a fruit rich in allegory, there is a lot of plant-lore assigned to the apple. Apple boughs hung above the door frame of a house are said to bless the couple that resides therein with peace and love. Others have used the apple in a love spell that involves cutting the apple cross-wise and sharing it with the one that you love to increase the attraction.
The Last Bite
Wherever the true origin of the first apple trees may be found, one thing is for certain; man has always been less than a pip’s throw away from the apple tree as it is remarkable how closely the histories of both man and the apple are connected. Looking at the paintings below reminds me of Paul Cézanne (1829–1906), who is famously known for his depiction of apples. He astonished the ‘erudite critics’ of the legendary art capital, Paris, in the nineteenth century with his exquisite paintings. His famous quote –“I will astonish Paris with an Apple” seemed to hold true. A man who Pablo Picasso called “the father of us all”, Paul Cézanne’s legacy continues till this day. Manmeet Kaur, with her paintings, does justice in representing this brilliant fruit in her own way and thus carries forward Cézanne’s heritage.
Written by – A.Swarup
Art Work by – Manmeet Kaur