Geetha Kudamaloor's murals are well-thought out depictions of mythological tales and Dhyana slokas

Growing up surrounded by the rich mural heritage of Kudamaloor, Kumaranelloor, Arpukkara, Ettumanoor, Pandavam, Manmangam, and so on (all in Kottayam district), it's natural that Geetha Kudamloor would turn to the art of murals when she realised her calling as an artist. “Although, I started out with oil paintings, murals attracted me because of their super-humanity, their surrealism, and their historical and mythological connections, and overriding beauty,” says the soft-spoken Geetha, a homemaker, who exhibited 22 of her murals in an exhibition titled ‘Geethanjali' at the Museum Auditorium last week. It was her first exhibition ever and each of the 22 paintings was an expression of the artist's love for this traditional art of painting.

Extra effort

And each of the murals stood out for the symbolism of adroitly chosen colours, elaborate and striking ornamentation, perfectly executed expressions, precise outlines, and so on – qualities that are rarely to be found in the works of the ever growing numbers of so-called ‘mural artists' in the city. Besides it's obvious that Geetha has made the extra effort to really think about the murals, so that she is accurate in her depictions of Dhyanaslokas, tales from the epics, the Puranas, and the like. Again that's not an easy task for someone who has not been professionally trained in the ways of mural art.

Take her painting of the of ‘Paduka pooja' episode from the Ramayana [where Bharata pays obeisance to his brother Rama by worshipping his sandals, while Rama is in exile], for example. Into the mural, which is a textbook depiction of the perceived scene, Geetha has not forgotten to look at the greater picture of Lord Rama as an avatar of Vishnu and has thus woven in a conch and a chakra into the mural. In another she has depicted ‘Drishti Ganapathi,' the 33rd avatar of the deity, in all its glory, carefully bringing out the different facets of what is said to be the most powerful of Lord Ganapathi's avatars – complete with the lotus on which he is poised, the third eye, the mace, the shanku and chakram, and other such symbols. Similarly, her well-thought out paintings of Jesus Christ (where she has chosen to ornament the background with star-shaped symbols), the Gitopadesa, Ananathasayanam of Lord Vishnu, Shaktipanchakshari....

Geetha also seems to have a particular fascination for Lord Ganapathi and has painted quite a few murals on the deity, “inspired by everything from Dhyana slokas on the deity to ‘Ganapathikathakal' on Balarama.” Among these one of the most striking is a mural of ‘Ashtaganapathi,' which depicts eight facets of Ganapathi from Nupura (dancing form) to Renamechaka (white-complexioned form).

While for the large part Geetha has steadfastly stuck to the traditional principles of murals, never swaying from the set colour codes, forms or symbols, she has let loose her creativity in her “modernist” depiction of ‘Feminity.' Here she has represented a woman's inherent shakti in this painting that depicts her as a butterfly, the five elements connected to her very being.

Keywords: art exhibition