A group of 34 artists remember Kamala Surayya through works that bring alive her persona, works, her views

Love her or hate her but no one can ignore her. That is Kamala Das/ Madhavi Kutty/Kamala Surayya. It's been a year since this enigmatic lady left us, but her spirit is here, there and everywhere. Just mention her name and a conversation gets going, even amongst total strangers in a railway station waiting room.

That is the strength of her totally off beat convictions and the deeply poetic heart of an incurable romantic. Even when she is no more, her stock keeps rising and falling, like the sensex, her body of work cutting across many genres of writing, but primarily verses that touch the heart, that have no masks, neither of tradition nor decorum.

A remembrance show is on at Nanappa Art Gallery. It's a group show, of 34 artists. Kaladharan of Orthic Creative Centre got these artists to create special works in connection with her first death anniversary.

The gathering of artists and well wishers on the rainy Sunday evening (May 30) at Orthic Creative Centre for the inauguration of the show was like a family gathering, with Kaladharan narrating his association with Kamala Surayya and how he envisaged and executed this show. Dr. Sulochana Nalappat, Kamala Surayya's sister, spoke of how imaginative her sister was even as a child, and how she once said that she saw Krishna wearing a violet shirt, and made it sound convincing enough for them to believe it. Mangattu Krishnakumar recited some of her poems with great feeling, while novelist Mohana Varma spoke of the Kamala he knew.

The show shows Kamala Surayya in all her splendour in the eyes of all these artists who have given expression to their views about her and her works. The many mediums in which she is recreated are pastels and charcoal, acrylic, photographs, digital print, water colour, oil, sculpture (fibre glass), poetry and literary works, collage and caricatures.

Among the works is a yellow one done by Kamala herself for a children's camp and photostat copies of some of the nudes she drew. Two sculptures take pride of place in the gallery. Her face, with and without the ‘hijab' was the subject of many works. Some have scenes from her many literary compositions while there are photos of her and the Nalappat ancestral compound with the ‘kavu' and the ‘neermathalam' tree. There is one abstract work in green done by Kamala's brother in law, Unnikrishnan, which his wife, Sulochana says came ‘right from his heart'. Another work, titled ‘Agony of Love', has petals of the ‘neermathalam' falling from the sky, right on to the ground, some fresh flowers, with a 3-D effect, a crow nestling amongst them and far away, the ancestral house amidst greenery, the place that Kamala Das so loved and Kamala Surayya craved for, like a scene lifted from one of her works.

Four generations of artists, both men and women and veterans and youngsters have all got together to pay homage to her. The artists who are showing their works are M.V. Devan, Namboothiri, T. Kaladharan, Nandan P.V, Sathyan V, Prasath Olavilam, C..S. Jayaram, Pramod Kurampala, Binuraj D., K. M. Narayanan, C.R. Manmadhan, C. K Unnikrishnan, Mohamed Ali Adam, D. Ajoy Kumar, T. N Subodh Kumar, Narayanan, Lekha N., Satheesh Babu, Shereena Satheesh, Anuradha Nalapat, K. K Rajappan, Nisha , Sukumar, Prasannan, Sudhi, Seeri, Haku, T. V. G Menon, Rethish, Naushad, Abdul Salim, Unnikrishnan, Ragesh, Sudhi Anna, Pradeep, Sharanya, Vivek.V. The show is on till June 10, from 11 am to 7 pm.

Keywords: Kamala Surayya