Shangrila Sasikumar’s collection of paintings titled ‘Yet another pilgrimage’ is on display at Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum until August 23

A potbellied Ganesha greets visitors to Shangrila Sasikumar’s exhibition of paintings at Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum’s art gallery. The exhibition comprises 51 of Sasikumar’s works. Titled ‘Yet another pilgrimage’, the exhibition gives viewers a glimpse of Sasikumar’s journey as an artist. From realistic paintings that capture the artist’s pensive mood on canvas, it moves on to the abstract realities of life as Sasikumar lets his mind’s eye flow on canvas without rules and concepts. While most of his works are a part of his new collection, others are a part of his previous series of works. One of his paintings dates as far back as 1975. The picture, in shades of blue and green, has a woman caressing a cow. The artist seems to be fascinated by faces. There are plenty of faces in most of his canvases. While some are clearly defined by strokes of his brush, others will require you to scrutinise the work to spot them. That there is beast in all men and that men have several ‘faces’ in them seem to be the theme in Sasikumar’s ‘face’ series.

One that showcases the fact that there is a Jekyll and Hyde in every man is a painting which shows faces in various angles. A man juxtaposed against an animal seems to state the fact that there is a hidden beast in all humans. A highlight of Sasikumar’s ‘face’ series would be a canvas that depicts a faceless couple. How men often treat women poorly is what comes to mind when one looks at the frame. Dressed in white, the woman has a hand covering her mouth, a sign that though she may face injustice at the hands of man, she has to keep silent. The man is dressed in a vibrant red jacket, which makes one think of danger. One wonders if a hand which creeps into the frame and rests on his heart, is his conscience.

A painting which grabs one’s attention is one which is an ode to those who inspired Sasikumar. “There is Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Da Vinci… All of them, their works, led me to pick up the paint brush. The painting is also an attempt to enlighten the new generation of what these artists have contributed to the world of art. Da Vinci gave us the mysterious Mona Lisa, while Rembrandt taught us portraits and how to play with light,” says Sasikumar, an alumnus of College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram

Striking a chord in one’s heart is a painting which he did post-tsunami. The work, a part of his ‘Mementos’ series shows the souls of children who died in the tsunami, floating to the heavens.

Swirls of green bring Ganesha alive on canvas, while a frame with strokes of red, blue and green, which depicts a person playing the flute, reminds one of Lord Krishna.

Sasikumar’s exhibition of paintings has been organised by Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum and Society for Protection of Cultural Heritage. The paintings that are exhibited at the venue are also on sale. Half of the sale’s proceeds will go to the welfare of the children undergoing treatment at the Regional Cancer Centre. The exhibition concludes on August 23.