Vaikom Muhammed Basheer and his characters come alive through the works of 40 artists

Artistic representations of the literary legend, Vaikom Muhammed Basheer and his characters fill the walls of the spacious Nanappa Art Gallery at Orthic Creative Centre. “I never expected such a response from artists of every generation when I planned this exhibition on his 16th remembrance day,” says Kaladharan who organised the show, ‘Homage to Vaikom Muhammed Basheer.'

There are works from more than 40 artists plus Namboodiri's and Devan's illustrations of the artist and his characters. For instance, Sherin Satheesh who has never seen Basheer, made this fibre bust of the writer from photos.

Sketches in ink

Two sketches of Basheer's face in black and white, one in water colour and the other in ink, show the artist in different stages of his life. The ink drawing brings out the expression in Basheer that was usually seen, say people who were familiar with him. The photos, many of them rare, show Basheer in various moods, in his comfortable niches.

The most famous of his characters undoubtedly is clear. From ten canvases, Pathumma's goat and its entourage look at you. If you want to see the different artistic styles in which a goat can be rendered in lines and colours, visit this exhibition. While in one it's a close embrace between the animal and its owner, in another it is a harassed Pathumma with the goat poised to take off with Basheer's spectacles, in the rural ambience of his home where the writer's unseen presence is felt in the accessories, like his clothes on the clothesline and the pen and paper on the table. How the same subject is done in the mural way, in granite as a sculpture, and in different styles in acrylic is an eye opener on the way different minds approach the same subject. “It is a coincidence that the story, ‘Pathummayude Aadu,' is also celebrating its golden jubilee, albeit without any fanfare, at this gallery, for few have thought about it,” points out Kaladharan.

Basheer's armchair also gets prominence in some works, and it is the prime property in an installation by Kaladharan at the corner of the gallery balcony. The installation is meant to be seen through blinds and inside is a figure sitting at a table, looking out the window. The armchair, books, a cloth bag, and other accessories can be seen as you peep in.

Basheer the man himself was as interesting as his stories. That is picturised in the illustrations of Namboodiri, when he took on the role of a newspaper boy, an astrologer and umpteen other odd jobs on his sojourns abroad and within the country, when he amassed the experiences to back on in his avatar as a writer.

Documentary

The show, got up to commemorate his 16th death anniversary will be on till July 18. The documentary ‘Basheer the Man' by M.A Rahman will be screened at the venue on the valedictory function.

The other participants include C. N Karunakaran, V.K Rajan, K. K Rajappan, C. R Manmadhan, O. Sundar, Surendran Karthyayan, Suresh Koothuparamba, Anil Dayanand, Madan, Satheesh Babu, A. S. Naushad, K. A Francis, T. N Subod Kumar, N.S Abdul Saleem, Thomas Antony, Sudhirnath, Sajeevan, Naushad P.U, Muhammedali Adam, D. Binuraj, Sudhi Anna, Ragesh Narayanan, D. Ajoy Kumar, R. Venu, K. M Narayanan, Satheesh Vellinezhi, P.V Krishnan, V. A Satyan, V. Madhu, Praveen Mudadi, K.V Krishna Kumar, Jeevan Lal, V.A Pradeep Kumar, Razak Kottakkal, Rajan M Thomas, Dominic , P. Mohan, Shankaran Kutty, Paul Kallanod, Sharanya and Vivek.