Author(s): Ram Singh Urveti
This well-known folk poem from the 17th century is a form of trick verse. Included in classic anthologies of children's poetry, the verse appears nonsensical at first sight, but given a break in the middle of each line, begins to make perfect sense. At the simplest level, it is a lesson on grammar and punctuation. Even the youngest of readers will delight in the overturning of logic that nonsense entails, and the 'trick' with which meaning can be made to return. But as with most folklore, this poem is not just for children, it is meant for all ages. Adults will marvel at the ways it teases out the paths of meaning. Is the difference between fantasy and reality largely grammatical? Or are these inversions the very essence of poetry - by turns meaningless and profound - which overturn our habitual ways of perception? In this pioneering visual exploration of I Saw a Peacock, Gond tribal artist Ramsingh Urveti and book designer Jonathan Yamakami add a further layer of imagery and play to the poem's enigmas, reflecting and complicating its meanings in delicious ways.
Ram Singh Urveti, an artist from central India, is one of the most brilliant living artists of the Gond tradition. His work has spread the myths and stories of the Gond community throughout Asia, Europe, Australia and South America and has won him national and international awards. His work creates a world of fantasy and metamorphosis, coming alive with finely detailed forms.