‘Unity in Diversity’ brings together aesthetic expressions of 11 artists

‘Unity in Diversity’ is a promising title for an art show. One would automatically expect an inspiring variety in styles and media. Kerala Art Gallery, which has organised the group show titled thus at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery, does not disappoint. Eleven artists have experimented freely with ideas, media and style. They are not bound by a common theme either. “We wanted to give a free reign to the imagination,” says Jayanth Kumar, owner and curator of the Kerala Art Gallery.

The artists are getting together for the second time with this show, which has 64 paintings on display. While some of the works dwell on the state of human life today, devoid of concern for the environment, some others depict episodes from epics. Some others are tributes to the enduring beauty of Nature. The youngest member of the group, Akhilkrishna Jayanth, has showcased an interesting collection of his watercolours. A Class 11 student at the Mahatma Gandhi Public School, Akhil is a hardened admirer of watercolours. He practises every day and has already a huge personal collection of paintings. “Watercolour is a tough medium to work with. One wrong stroke and the whole thing is destroyed. One needs immense patience and skill to get it right. I work in other media, too. But it is the transparency of water colour that I love,” he says. His big work, ‘Neerkumilakal’, which shows a young boy blowing out bubbles, stands true to his belief that watercolour brings in ‘life’ to a painting. Akhil is Jayanth’s son.

Acrylic seems to be another popular medium. Twin brothers Hassan Kotharath and Hussain Kotharath have displayed some of their recent works in acrylic. Though they studied, worked and appreciated art together, their works are not similar. But the ideas they have worked on hinge on the same issue — environmental degradation. One of Hussain’s paintings is an elegy to our crumbling hills. “It is a problem caused by wide-spread deforestation. The hills, which hold together soil, crumble. It is just a symbol of our apathy towards the environment,” he says. Hassan’s more prominent work at the show depicts ‘decay’ as a concept. A man is shown standing alone in a forest. The trees around him have been cut and scraped and the man himself has been wounded.

Sreekanth Nettoor has used acrylic to great effect on glass.

Jayanth paints a spectacle with a pen on canvas. The 6x3 ft work is an intense portrayal of human misery. Titled ‘Duravastha’, the work has also used paint in an intelligent way. He has used about 25 pens to create this intricate tapestry of curves and squiggles.

O.T. Ramanan is perhaps the only artist who has displayed true diversity in terms of the medium. His works in acrylic bear his signature style of using geometric patterns. But he has also used water colour, ink on paper and oil.

Eroor Biju’s delightful strokes in acrylic, Haris Babu’s works in oil and acrylic, Sebastian Poduthas’s varied style, Ayyappan’s naturalistic portrayal of nostalgia and Vinod Viswam’s recreation of a yellow acrylic peacock on canvas, complete the picture.

The show, Unity in Diversity, is on till July 19 at Durbar Hall Art Gallery.