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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024
Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024

Q&A: Strokes of Aggieland

 
 

Cassidy Tyrone, lifestyles writer, sat down with Yashwant Prakash Vyas, senior electrical engineering major, who was awarded Best In Show in Thursday’s Artfest with a Warali painting of Aggie traditions. Artfest was hosted by the MSC Visual Arts Committee and showcased the diverse talents of student artists in an art competition. THE BATTALION: Can you give me some background information about your winning piece?
Vyas: Warali paintings are a part of ancient Indian culture – ancient paintings done in a small town in India call Warali. These paintings are done to represent Indians’ culture and day-to-day activities. They are rudimentary paintings that use a very basic vocabulary like squares, triangles and straight lines. So what I did was take the Warali paintings, my culture, and used them to depict the A&M story – our core values, our traditions and a part of Texas A&M’s history.
THE BATTALION: Why did you name your piece the “Story of Aggieland in Maroon and White”?
Vyas: Because originally these paintings are done inside huts. The walls are given a fresh coat of Indian red mud and cow dung, which kind of makes a maroon background. The original paintings are done with a white paste of rice and water.
THE BATTALION: Why did you choose to use the Warali painting style to depict the story of A&M?
Vyas: It’s very symbolic art, every little thing symbolizes something. It has eight frames. The first frame has sun and the last frame has moon. My purpose of putting them in the first and last frames was to represent the endless circle of life in Aggieland. The six frames in between those have our core values.
THE BATTALION: How did you use symbolism in the Warali style to depict the core values?
Vyas: The first is leadership – global leadership. Aggie leaders always tend to be global leaders and have a global impact. This is a kind of dance form they do in Warali and this is how it is represented. It is a lot of group effort and it is led by a leader. Also there are people who play music and guide this particular dance. They are like our advisors and organizations.
The next is selfless service, so I depicted Aggie Replant, the Big Event, the 12th Can – community service.
The bell tower, our academic building, the agricultural college that started A&M, saw ’em off, that represents excellence.
Loyalty. When it comes to loyalty, it is about the spirit of the 12th Man. It is that spirit that can never be told. As an international student, as an outsider, I can guarantee that Aggie spirit is something that you have to experience for yourself. For me to explain my Aggie experiences is very difficult. I have to go that extra mile. I always have to work harder to explain my Aggie experiences.
Integrity. Integrity is a whole, complex process. It’s intricate. It’s very difficult, so that’s why all the intricate designs. That’s what integrity is about.
Then we come to respect. In the first column you see gender equality, then you see here the balance. So it’s human equality, gender equality for eternity. That is respect. We all here at A&M come from different countries, different backgrounds, different beliefs. You have got to embrace that diversity and as Aggies we have to hold on together. The diversity here is what makes A&M what it is today.
THE BATTALION: Is there anyone in particular that inspired you to be an artist?
Vyas: I paint under my mom’s name, Ambica. My name and my signature are always at the back. You will not see my signature and my name. If not for my mom’s encouragement, I would have never pursued my hobby. It was her support, her encouragement, her sacrifices that I was able to pursue the art of drawing and painting. She is my inspiration.
THE BATTALION: Is your faith something you draw strength from for many aspects of your life?
Vyas: Yes I do. I have a very clear mindset of what I have to do with my life. It has been a big journey from my small village in India to Texas A&M University. The kindness, the love that I have received from people during this journey is one of the things that inspires me and makes me feel obligated to serve society and give back. When I came to A&M people were so kind to me. That’s what got me into the Aggie spirit. “Howdy” made no sense to me. But just in one day, after spending time with these people, “Howdy” replaced “Namaste” and became my normal way of greeting people. That kindness, that help that I have received, is what inspires me to give back.

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