Recent Press Release:
Benrali is a new Guyanese author artist who graduated from Parsons School Of Design that fuses together different styles of art, from Balinese rain-forest paintings, Japanese woodcuts to Rajput, Turkish and Moghul miniature paintings. He is an artist beyond any categorization and has created a unique style and brand of his own. Benrali is an innovative artist who has woven together many styles, schools of thought and even periods into a style that is truly his own. Where there were no prior role models or doorways in the children's book industry for Guyanese he created his own! One example of this interweaving of multiple styles and influences is seen in his latest book for children, Manni; From A World Beyond Stars. Here we have the first children's book created using the ghazal in English as a foundation for the rhyming couplets throughout the book. The names of the main characters Manni and Ooni are both Indian and Japanese. Manni stems from the Sanskrit word, "Mani" which means money or jewel and Ooni in Japanese means, sea urchin. The moongazers which Manni meets are one of the legends among the rich folklore that has become part of Guyana and the Caribbean. These facets along with the various Asian influences and fantasy art influences within the illustrations all have produced children's books never created before.
Within his prior picture book, The Turtle's Dream & Keys.r. Benrali has created an artist book that breaks all boundaries of childrens picture books. He created a museum quality book where naturalist pen and ink illustrations are woven together with beautiful prose to take children back into time through a box turtle's dream into prehistoric time. Since tortoises are prehistoric how far can they actually dream back? The Tortoise goes back to a time where Earth was pure and sylvan and also mentions what would this world lose when a species truly goes extinct? A truly unique children's book that blends styles from Naturalism, Romanticism, Surrealism and borderlines on fantasy. Reviewers allover have been calling the book "stunning".
And what pushes Benrali to seek out different influences and blend them into one coherent form of communication? This search for an identity or style within his work comes from his own search within his own heritage. All of the Indians in Guyana and the Caribbean originated from the Indian subcontinent, from the Pashtuns from Afghanistan to people from Madras. What is well known is that many of the Guyanese are a mixture or blend between different parts of India. While some can trace their roots back to one particular village many if not the majority cannot find relatives back in India. Benrali himself is half Muslim and half Hindu and they originate from Port Mourant, Berbice and Georgetown, Campelville. Since Guyana itself does not have any major art movement this pushed him to search deep into his roots in India and researching the collections at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art of Rajput, Turkish, Persian and Moghul miniature paintings who also blended both Hindu and Muslim styles.
But being Guyanese he felt he didn't want his illustrations to seem like copies of Indian miniatures so he pushed his style and work into a different area from traditional miniature paintings which led him to research Balinese rainforest paintings, Japanese woodcuts, American folk art and even jungle scenes from Henri Rousseaus oil paintings, Gaugin's paintings and even Carnival art done for circuses! While symbolism is a very personal thing to every individual, being Guyanese for Benrali meant "fusion" or blending and creating things that wouldn't have done otherwise stemming from his India parents being from different religions and possibly different locations in the Indian Sub-continent. What Benrali hopes for is that Guyanese as well as Caribbean artists can use their diversity as a source of power rather than try to find any particular village in India they may or may not have come from. While this "search" may not be obvious in his children's books many of his adult books of poems and movies in the future have characters that clearly show this. In his search for creating unique books, arts and gifts Benrali has created a line of products that can appeal to any audience. You can find out more details on him by visiting his website benrali.com and you can send an email or contact him via facebook.
I am hoping to find international publishers who may like to buy the translation rights. I am also open to possibilities with co-publishing with distributors who are experienced with distributing in their country. My books have illustrations that I have also used for t-shirts, mugs, fine art prints, notecards etc... so any publisher that would like to work with me on those please contact me. Last but not least I am a free-lance illustrator as well. Please do not hesitate to check out my website and contact me.