Shibu Natesan rewinds to his student days during a workshop at the College of Fine Arts

It was a date with nostalgia for artist Shibu Natesan. The artist who was at his alma mater as a visiting faculty member for a three-day demonstration and interactive session at the painting hall of the College of Fine Arts in the city.

Walk down memory lane

Sipping tea during a five-minute break between the sessions, Shibu Natesan admits it is nostalgic to be back in the college and that it triggers memories of his journey as an artist. “I never had to struggle. While completing my post graduation studies in Baroda, I started exhibiting my paintings and people came for more,” recalls Shibu, the winner of the Uriot Prize in 1996.

He says his favourite place in the college was the library. It was his love for literature that “began in standard 10 when I started reading my sister's literature books that took me to the library.” But this artist with an international following doesn't believe in competing with others. According to him: “It's the idea of self realisation that matters, of recognising the god within you.”

After the break, the artist continues his demonstration on portrait painting as Anu, a final-year B.F.A student, poses for the portrait.

On the first day of the workshop, he showcased 150 of his paintings. Leeja, a first- year student of B.F.A says her favourite is “the charcoal painting of a horse and also the depiction of a woman wearing white; her smile is etched in my memory.”

A short film on the artist was screened on the same day. On the second day, the spotlight shifted to portrait painting, as the artist conducted a demonstration on this genre. Portrait painting has often been neglected by many artists but for a versatile artist like Shibu, still-life painting is on a par with any other form of art. “Mukham manassinte kannadi aanu (Face is the index of the mind),” opines the artist.

“Shibu doesn't limit himself, his versatility makes him unique,” says Ajaya Kumar, principal of the College of Fine Arts. The students assembled in the hall were left speechless after the portrait was complete.

The artist saw a couple of paintings done by the students and gave his views and suggestions on the third day. He also held an inspiring interactive session with the students. The artist will conduct an exhibition in Dubai, sometime later this year.