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Friday Review » Art

Updated: June 11, 2010 17:23 IST

Giving shape to a culture

H.A. Anil Kumar
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N. Marishamachar who has been conferred the K.K. Hebbar Memorial Award has made immense contribution in the field of visual culture

N. Marishamachar has been conferred with the prestigious K.K. Hebbar Memorial Award for the year 2010. It is a rare honour to be received by any artist of the State.

It is difficult to pinpoint the area that Marishamachar specialises within the visual culture, but his presence is inevitable in the history of modern and contemporary Karnataka visual culture. His contribution to the field can be categorised as a kind of art-activism that most of his contemporary artistes failed to cater to.

There is an interesting genealogy to this: being a student of both R.M. Hadapad (at Ken School of Art) and K.G. Subramanyan (Baroda M.S.University), Marishamachar carries a lineage that is so specific to these two pedagogists and unique to his generation.

For instance, his tutor Hadapad was one of the most influential artist-personality of twentieth century Indian art in general and of Karnataka in particular. It means that the artist-generation just before and after Marishamachar have revived this tradition of belongingness to an art-community. However, amongst his generation, Marishamachar played a singular role: he initiated Samyojitha, an artist group three decades ago, which has been kept alive owing to his commitment.

Marishamachar is an artist, art historian, photographer, designer, sculptor, printmaker and art organiser who has written several Kannada books on art and its history — global in general and regional in particular.

This becomes very important given the fact that Karnataka has the maximum number of art schools in the country.He is a students' writer, in this sense. An Exhibition Officer for the Department of Kannada and Culture, he was the registrar of Shilpakala Academy and Lalitkala Academy.

Marishamachar has played the role of a catalyst in the promotion of the art of Karnataka on the map of Indian art. Marishamachar has played a big role in igniting the history of Karnataka that has been grossly ignored. He has upheld the subaltern discourse of visual culture.

Born in 1951, Marishamachar is the brain behind the Shilpa Vana or the collection of sculptures in Kannada Bhavana. He is a recipient of various awards considering his diverse preoccupations: a writer, designer, artist and the like.

The Human Resource Department gave him a grant to conduct research in the field of Karnataka Folk Painting. Marishamachar also had a role to play in setting up the Hebbar gallery within the Venkatappa gallery.

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In primary coloursJune 11, 2010


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