C.D. Jain uses colours, or the lack of it, to present vivid images in his paintings.


An artist decides the shape of his subjects. But in case of C.D. Jain, whose exhibition of paintings — Don't Scratch My Face — is on view at Lalit Kala Akademi's regional centre in Bhubaneswar, his subjects shaped his life and converted his passion and profession into a mission.

In his late 40's, the artist from Kerala has been exclusively painting childhood for the past 14 years. While working as an art consultant for UNICEF and similar organisations working for marginalised children, he interacted with thousands of kids across the four South Indian states that changed his attitude towards art for ever. And the artist became an activist — his art being his medium to paint the cause of children.

A Kerala state Lalit Kala Akademi awardee, Jain paints and draws in oil, acrylic, charcoal and mix media. The agony of the underprivileged children dominates his canvas. Their disillusionment dominates his black and brown coloured frames that look like pictures with faded colours — suggesting lack of colours in the lives of his subject. Yet, he also celebrates the dreams, joy and the creativity of the children in his brightly painted portraits. Like his theme, his treatment of colours, texture and figures bear his distinct signature — his chromatic compositions in particular.

Nature remains an integral part in all his compositions. The artist tries to establish the symbiotic relationship between children and the nature suggesting the inherent innocence, joy and beauty in both. Figures of girls outnumber the boys in his frames revealing the artist's deeper concern for the plight of the girl child.

A few frames that arrest the visitors' instant attention to the exhibition — from the series of Reminiscences of My Grandfather's Canvas — and closer to the painter heart deserve a special mention. Jain's grandfather was a temple painter who passed away when he was a kid. Yet, he feels quite closer to the late painter as if the grandfather and the child in Jain painted on the same canvas together that tells the tale of two different times.