“A.R. Rahman Meets Berklee” – Artwork by Sharmistha Ray
This art work was commissioned from Sharmistha Ray by Berklee College of Music as the signature work for “A.R. Rahman Meets Berklee,” to honor the composer for his contribution to world music. The image was used on all the marketing collateral and the original work- made with over 1000 Swarovski crystals and bearing his image hand drawn in charcoal and ink- was auctioned for an undisclosed sum towards the scholarship.
On the occasion, Berklee awarded Rahman an honorary doctorate, launched a Presidential Scholarship in his name to bring one musically gifted youth from India every year to study for four years at Berklee free of cost. The Berklee India Ensemble led by Annette Phillip also played tribute with his major compositions in a concert at Boston Symphony Hall.
The original 36 x 36 inch work titled “Maestro” of the musician surrounded by lights is a mixed-media work with charcoal, Swarovski rhinestones, inket print, synthetic polymer paint and resin on canvas. The work takes its cues from the theme “Festival of Lights,” and also evokes the spirit of a prodigy who has touched the lives of millions of people around the world with his inspirational music.
The work is signed by both Sharmistha Ray & Rahman on the front .
Also the Festival of Lights theme in work was theme of the concert because of Diwali. Additionally lights represent Rahman as a prodigy inspired by his spirituality and cosmic forces to create music that has touched lives of millions of people.
This event was the second in their series for the Berklee India Exchange. A.R. Rahman is the second person of Indian origin to receive an honorary doctorate from the College, and the first musician (the first was Amar Bose). He joins a list of luminaries that includes Dizzy Gillespie, Sting, Aretha Franklin etc.