Two exhibitions at Shangrila Arts Gallery showcased different styles of expressions

Shangrila Art Gallery hosted two exhibitions of paintings in quick succession. One was by veteran artist and owner of the gallery, J. Sasikumar. His latest collection of oils, called ‘Vibrations' featured 37 works that showed “the yatra from figurative to abstract works.”

“Abstract works evolve over time and one can never see enough of them – the colours, the shapes and the compositions change in tune with the changes around us,” says the artist. The collection will travel to Delhi in April.

Eye for composition

Two days later, doctor-turned-artist Padma Sundaram presented her exhibition of oils and acrylics at the same venue. Padma's 35 works showcase, above all, her eye for composition and her ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary scenes around us. Amidst the oleanders, tulips, irises and sunflowers (the latter two are reproductions of Vincent Van Gogh's famous works) and landscapes, Padma has captured some exquisite scenes full of life and colour.

One shows a woman working in an old fashioned, smoke-stained, cavernous kitchen with its collection of tins and pots.

Another shows a shop selling different kinds of bananas. Padma's work depicts the riot of colours as varieties of plantain jostle for space in a rural shop. A man folding his dhothi, a woman hidden in the shadows and a few customers complete the scene. The work highlights Padma's use of space and colours.

An exquisite painting of a Hibiscus has been given a relief effect by filling in each colour and waiting for it to dry before painting on the next colour. A winter scene in Chicago and a green mossy swamp in Florida show her playing with light and shade as she experiments with styles and techniques.

The widely-travelled Padma has also depicted pictures of places she has visited over the years. Paintings of lava- and ash-covered spots in Hawaii compete for attention with a black-and-white painting of an ice sheet breaking during a trip to Antarctica.

Her tryst with paints began when a friend requested to fill a vacant seat for a painting class. Although she was hesitant about her drawing skills, her teacher, Ethle Bunge, felt she had the eye for art and encouraged to paint.

“One of the first works I did was a portrait of my grandmother Alamelu. I was completely lost when I began but gradually, with my teacher's guidance, I completed it. I feel it is one of my best works,” says the genial septuagenarian who shuttles between Chicago, where she lives, and Kerala, where she hails from.

“Post-retirement (after practising medicine for 30 years in the United States), I took up painting seriously. I got a camera and clicked snaps of whatever caught my fancy. Later, I used the photographs to develop my paintings. Now, I paint whatever catches my eye. Many of the works included in the exhibition were done during my vacations in the city,” says Padma. She adds with a smile that painting is a pastime that became a passion.

Keywords: art exhibition