Santhosh Andrade’s works draw from the traditions of Indian folk forms and the academic realism of the West
Santosh Andrade, a Mangalore-based artist showcasing his works at Apparao Galleries displays traditional sensibility, with his art rooted in the folk forms of his region, the Chilimbi Hills where he lives, as well as the Madhubani, Tanjore and Mysore traditions. His pedagogy was at Mahalasa School of Art, where he was deeply influenced by his teacher N.S. Patthar.
Santosh's painting style is in the traditions of Indian folk art forms and the academic realism developed from the Renaissance in the West and precipitated through colonial art institutions. He has cleverly integrated the two to create painted expressions in which Madhubani is explored as a partial visual language for creating personal narrative. His works continue to engage with the conventional medium of acrylics on canvas, conveying with dexterity and intense patience the naïve spontaneity and decorative space of Madhubani juxtaposed with the three-dimensional space of academic realism. He believes that his art should reflect his ethnic sensibility and yet remain distinct.
While he constructs varied spaces as interiors flowing into landscape, aerial views of houses looking down on busy streets, open courtyards with windows opening into it; Madhubani painting is brought alive on the walls, doors, panels within these interiors. His figures are introverted and do not interact, lost in reverie. His drawing skills manifest in rendering human figures and architectural spaces enlivened by light, shade and textures. This is evident in paintings such as “Courtyard of Memories”, “Neighbours”, “Relaxation”. The inherent power of his works draws from the sensuous tactility inviting spectators to a closer scrutiny, thus striking a dialogue with his works. This capacity to attract and elicit a response makes his works dynamic. Santosh vividly establishes the mood of nostalgia in his series of paintings titled “Courtyard of Memories”. For instance a little girl drawing kolam on the ground is watched by an adolescent girl at a window and a sari-clad woman providing the thread of connectivity as nostalgic memory of a childhood gone by. His works evoke moods of optimism and positive emotions with sunlit courtyards and street scenes, conveying the feelings of the artist in his symbolic search for the self. If Santosh has arrived at this visual language, the road has been a long and an arduous one, experimenting and evolving to integrate spaces that create his individual style. The show is on at Apparao Galleries till today.