Nine artists pay tribute to their teacher in a show, ‘Unity in Diversity'
A lemony yellow sun disintegrates into a deep orange sky. On the right hand corner of the canvas, silhouettes of ritual dancers have been sketched in black paint. Manoj Mathasseril's painting evokes a deep sense of longing for things long gone, because it reminds one of villages carpeted with bright green fields and innocent rituals and crimson evenings.
Another painting by K.S. Sajeev mirrors a cityscape in watercolour; realistic strokes that reflect the melancholy of age-old buildings that have stood the test of time. The focus suddenly shifts to a pencil drawing by Sebastian Poduthas—Fingers intertwining in impossible ways to create an image of two faces.
Variety is certainly the highlight of the painting exhibition on at the Kerala Art Gallery. Nine artists, with their every different works, are paying a tribute to their teacher, Vijayan P. Sthanath. “We work in different media and the ideas and themes are never the same. But we decided to get together to honour our guru,” says R. Jayanth Kumar, one of the artists. The show has been aptly titled ‘Unity in Diversity'.
Eroor Biju's work, showing a bullock cart in slim ochre lines set against a dull grey background, is a take on the pace of life in the city. Sheffy Tattarath prefers cloth to canvas. Acrylic gives the cloth a velvety finish and the paint seems to dissolve into it, lending a special emotional quality to the painting. So, a scene from Christ's Last Supper appears poignant, and an image of an old man working on the field instantly connects with the viewer.
Among the 25 paintings, a majority are landscapes, in pleasing colours that soothe the tired eye. But Jayanth's works could make one stop and think. Two of his works explore religion. The 24 Arabic alphabet is an aesthetic impulse for him. The peculiar curve and the dot above bear a stark resemblance to the Islamic symbol of the crescent. “The painting is my way of connecting the two,” he says.
Sijimon S. is known as the ‘videshi' in the group as his strokes are “a clear deviation from the usual style of Malayali artists”. Sijimon's fluid style captures landscapes in a unique way. Haris Babu and Shibu Abdhil's works, too, say a thing or two about the artists' vision of the world. People, animals, cities, and fields transform and morph into lines, blurs and smudges. The exhibition is on till February 29.