Like the colours of the rainbow, Yasala Balaiah's canvas bursts into a riot of colours. At the State Art Gallery in Kavuri Hills, where the veteran artist is holding an exhibition-cum-sale of his works, the splash begins right at the entrance. A painting of a couple - a farmer and his wife looking deep into each other's eyes - catches your attention. Another picture is of a farmer couple with a goat squeezed in between as another goat peeps from behind.
“When you are in a village, can a farmer and a goat be missed? ‘Rythulu', ‘Mekalu', ‘Eddulu'… they are all there in my works,” smiles artist Balaiah as he revisits his childhood days in Siddipet. “I draw what I have seen in my village,” he says. No wonder 73-year-old artist Balaiah (also popular as Batik Balaiah. His book ‘Batik Chitra Kala' will also be launched soon.) is known among art aficionados for depicting people living in Telangana, their culture and lifestyle in his works. His subject on Telangana has remained constant, only the paintings have changed.
Go around the gallery and you will be enchanted by works that sparkle with vibrant red, green and yellow. The artist depicts the way women dress up describing in detail their ornamentation. If the women are bulky with their beautiful eyes, big red vermillion on their forehead, colourful bangles, rings, (don't miss the matching nail polish in one painting) hair tied in a bun, mukku puduka and kadiyam… men look majestic in a dhoti and a khanduwa wrapped around their shoulders, their heads covered in a pagaa cloth tied around the head. “My father always had a Paga. Because of its multipurpose use, the cloth was adorned by men during all seasons,” says Balaiah.
Pictures of women gossiping, at the field, couples engrossed in one another and an ayyagaru… are some of the other works displayed at the gallery. The paintings range from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 70,000. If you feel nostalgic and want to remember the times spent in your village, drop in at the gallery. The exhibition ends on August 22.