An exhibition that offers you a chance to do your bit for children with HIV/AIDS

The ongoing Art and AIDS exhibition at Apparao Galleries is a wonderful, colourful surprise. You might assume that a show for such a weighty cause — to raise funds for children with HIV/AIDS — would be sombre. But instead, the pieces in this collection burst with bright, cheerful colours and pop culture imagery.

Put together by the PeopleAIDS Initiative (a Tamil Nadu-based charity movement), the exhibition features the works of well-known artists such as Trotsky Marudu, S. Mark Rathinaraj and K.R. Santhanakrishnan.

Marudu's abstracts are all splashes of red, yellow and black, with vigorous brush strokes and intriguing textures and patterning. Instantly appealing and pulsing with energy, these small square canvases set the tone of the exhibition as you enter the main hall.

Keeping pace are Ranthinaraj's eccentric caricature-like portraits — bold, brilliantly coloured sketches of faces of everyone from the bespectacled doctor or lawyer to the moustachioed farmer or labourer.

His sure, strong lines conjure up such vivid imagery that you feel like you're looking at people you know, characters from your own neighbourhood.

Depth and perspective

And then you have Santhanakrishnan's fascinating series of doorways that play with your sense of depth and perspective, and yes, curiosity.

The old-fashioned doors are set in old walls with peeling bright yellow or green paint, and the open doorways give you a tantalising glimpse of the small-town lives being lived within. The result is whimsical, yet vibrantly real.

These original artworks are, of course, rather steeply priced. But not to worry the show also offers an entire range of prints (signed by the artists) priced at Rs.2000 for those of us whose pockets don't run quite as deep, but would still like to do our bit.

These prints include the works of other well-known artists — George K's sensitive portraits covered in characteristic graffiti; N. Ramachandran's mellow, thought-provoking abstracts, all in golden-brown hues; Farhan Mujib's delicately detailed collages of the objects and symbols that form a part of our daily lives, and many more.

You can also choose from a range of postcards featuring these works for about Rs.250.

At Art and AIDS, there's more than one way to contribute to charity.

The show ends on February 2, 2011.