Friday Review » Art

Updated: January 22, 2014 21:00 IST

One line, myriad expressions

Rema Sundar
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IN AN UNBROKEN LINEArunambika N.H. with her single line contour drawings of Swami Vivekananda P. Photo: S.Gopakumar.
THE HINDU IN AN UNBROKEN LINEArunambika N.H. with her single line contour drawings of Swami Vivekananda P. Photo: S.Gopakumar.

Arunambika N.H. has covered a canvas with 150 single-line contour drawings of Swami Vivekananda

One hundred and fifty years after his birth, the life of social reformer and religious leader Swami Vivekananda has been brought to life through 150 contour drawings by Arunambika N.H. of Asan Nagar, Muttathara. Even more fascinating is the fact that the 150 different forms and expressions of Swami Vivekananda stem from a single unbroken line.

Drawing and other creative pursuits with colours have always been a hobby for Arunambika, a consultant eye physician at Neyyattinkara Taluk Hospital. During her spare time, she dabbled in various forms of art and that is how she found herself drawing inspiration from single-line drawings. She says: “Though I have done single-line drawing before, this is the first time that I attempted something on this scale.”

It started with a single-line contour drawing of seven pictures of Swami Vivekananda’s mentor Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his consort, Sarada Devi. “One day, I suddenly felt that I should try making 150 drawings of Swami Vivekananda as a tribute to the saint who has contributed immensely to our country and the world.”

She began collecting pictures from various sources including the Internet and old volumes of magazines brought out by the Ramakrishna Mission.

Sourcing the reference photographs to portray milestones in the life of Swami Vivekananda, though, was not easy. Until her husband, V. Vivekanandan, remembered a book containing Swami Vivekananda’s photographs gifted to him by his father-in-law. The book Photographs of Swami Vivekananda, published by Vedanta Society of North California, has snaps of Vivekananda from 1886 to 1901. “I was thrilled, to say the least,” says Arunambika.

Using the book as reference material, she captured on canvas the evolution of Narendranath Datta of Calcutta [Kolkata] to Swami Vivekananda, as the world reveres him today.

Arunambika feels that even in the photographs Vivekananda’s eyes capture the viewer’s attention. “It has been remarked that through his eyes, he could make others perceive God. His eyes literally attracted people to his cause.”

The mother of two, who is now planning a chronological narrative of Swami Vivekananda life and achievements through single line contour drawings, says: “Through this, I wish to communicate to and remind youngsters about the supreme contributions made by Swami Vivekananda to humanity. ”

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