An accidental discovery of a cache of art of J. Vasanthan has led to the creation of an Art foundation

English Prof J. Vasanthan who died two months ago, has left behind more than 2,500 brilliant art works. They came to light when his book shelves were being cleared. The discovery propelled his daughter Chandini Appadurai to start the J. Vasanthan Art Foundation.

Besides keeping alive the memory and legacy of the professor, the foundation will also provide a platform for emerging artists and raise awareness and appreciation of art and culture.

Chandini says she often saw her father sketch on the backs of calendars. “In seconds he would come out with a drawing. I did not understand the nuances of his artwork those days,” she says.

Chinnaraj Joseph Jaikumar, Managing Trustee of the foundation, remembers how when Vasanthan was a student in Madras Christian College he would sketch regularly. “Not a day passed without his caricatures displayed on the notice board.” Prof Solomon Papiah, a contemporary of JV, praised the contributions of the late English teacher while his former colleagues and friends Prof Nedumaran and D. Samuel Lawrence recalled his dedication to teaching and his helpful nature. “We have planned a series of art exhibitions in Madurai, Chennai, Puducherry and Delhi culminating on the first death anniversary of my father,” says Chandini.

Objectives of the Vasanthan foundation:

Recover his original works, preserve and document the art pieces.

Conduct a bibliographic research to index his written works since 1950.

Seek the help of art critics to categorise his sketches.

Bring out a coffee table book

Establish an art school

Organise seminars, workshops, lectures by visiting artists and interface with schools and colleges to promote art education.

Through an endowment fund, create scholarships and stipends for budding artists

Hold regular competitions for young people.