Faces and Places captures vignettes of rural life

The spirit of rustic life is captured in “Faces and Places”, an exhibition of works by artists Bhaskar Rao and J.M.S.Mani at The Coloured Palette. Bhaskar Rao captures the unique spirit and character of every individual he encounters on the street, whether it is the girl on the swing, the man with the monkey or the balloon seller.

Each portrait is a scene and a mood coming alive into the canvas. For instance, there is a palpable feral ferocity in his untitled portrait of the hunter in his loincloth, arrow strung to his bow with an incapacitated tiger lying by his side. The background, of a thick foliage adds to the sense of wildness.

There is sweet oblivion in “Murali”, his portrait of the flute player, sporting an orange dhoti, playing a roughly hewn flute standing in a garden of mild pink, lilac, lime green and peach. “All my paintings show different subjects; I paint the lives of people I see around me. These are people from all walks of life,” explains Bhaskar. “I create my work using textures to show the vibrancy of day to day life. Just as the systematic arrangement of sounds creates music, which then provokes a particular feeling, I see painting as the rhythmic arrangement of forms and colours in balance.”

Bold explosion

J.M.S.Mani’s “Badami people” series is a bold explosion of colours. Long after stepping out of the exhibition, the colours that he paints in impasto (or in visible, thick strokes) stay with the viewer. White against brown skin, the royal purple turban, the red bindi or the spot of gold in the earrings, the richness of their attire is a contrast against the bare mud/cement walls.

The rooster in the laps of the Badami people and the constant presence of the bananas become a trademark of their simple lives as they sit by a basket of flowers, or of heaps of red kumkum, sometimes gazing delicately at the viewer, sometimes looking away with their innocent smiles.

“The people of Badami, who I visit every year, are hardworking and innocent. I like the people, their culture, the colours and the atmosphere. Though their lives are a struggle, they always appear rich in my paintings.”

“Faces and Places” will be on view until February 28 at The Coloured Palette, #863/D, 12th Main, 3rd Block Koramangala. For details, contact 8861731111.