Two exhibitions — one by M. R. Ramachandran, and another by students of Bhoomi art school — are on at the Durbar Art Gallery

M.R. Ramachandran finds beauty in the mundane. Inspiration, too. The retired technical officer from the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Kochi, is a self-taught artist who is fascinated by everyday life. An exhibition of 50 of his works is on at the Gallery.

Time that presented itself with retirement rekindled Ramachandran’s interest in art. He began painting sights he saw around him, in acrylic and water colour. “I have always been interested in painting, but never found the time to learn it technically or practise it. Most of the works on display are those that I did this year.”

However, Ramachandran put his skill to good use on the job. He handled the design section of many of the projects for NPOL and one of them even won him a certificate of appreciation from former President APJ Abdul Kalam. It was awarded for the “design, development and induction to the service of the first indigenous submarine sonar” in 1999.

The show includes some of Ramachandran’s earliest works too such as the pencil sketches of former Chief Minister of Kerala R. Shankar and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, singer K. J. Yesudas, actor Bharath Gopi and a portrait of Rabindranath Tagore, which has been painted in enamel on X-Ray film. These works, he says, were done during 1970-80.

Ramachandran’s works do not follow the same formula. While one painting captures a peaceful seaside, another shows two women sitting on their verandah, peeling jackfruit. Yet another, shows a couple walking through a park. One of the largest paintings at the show is of the Kedarnath floods — an arresting visual of water eddying around a massive idol of Lord Shiva.

The show is untitled and is on till September 7 at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery.

Innocent colours

Green countrysides, brown hills and blue seas. People, animals and motor vehicles. Houses, sail boats and roads. When crayons and paintbrushes meet canvas, all the above mentioned appear in happy combinations. The painting exhibition put up by the students of Bhoomi art school back memories of childhood. Titled “Kuruthola”, the show has over 50 paintings and drawings by children under 12 years of age.

The show is not themed, giving a free reign to the young artists’ imaginations. “Children are extremely creative and sensitive, too. So, instead of imposing one’s own ideas on them, one has to find out what they are interested in and encourage that,” says V.K. Babu, the founder of Bhoomi, who has been teaching art for 30 years. He teaches art at MES Udyogamandal School.

He feels children are more into art these days, as the syllabus has incorporated art in a big way. “All you need to do as a teacher or a parent is identify the child’s interest in art and motive him/her to pursue it,” he adds.

Bhoomi art school has three centres — at Kakkanad, Udyogamandal and Edavanakkad. Babu hopes to conduct a large scale painting competition, camp and exhibition for children next year. “There would be paintings enough to fill up the halls of Durbar Hall,” he says.

The show is on till September 6.