To translate the raw power and majesty of a Theyyam performance onto a two-dimensional, still medium is no mean feat.

The folk art is known to evoke an intense reaction in viewers and for artist T.R. Udayakumar, it was no different. He needed to vent his awe through his preferred mode of expression and months of work led to his latest exhibition titled ‘Metaphors of Power,’ which will conclude at the Museum auditorium here on Sunday.

Thiruvananthapuram is the first venue for the Theyyam-based exhibition that consists of 21 pieces. Though they vary in size, a common thread is the adept blend of symbols and facial features of Theyyam, with an abstract quality woven in, that bears almost Picasso-like traits for his use of strict geometric figures.

“I wanted to portray the divine and profound features of the art form and also capture the discipline that it demands,” said Mr. Udayakumar. The symmetrical designs packed onto the canvas surround the face of a performer in most paintings. The facial features demanded the most attention, says the artist. Some paintings lack faces, which he says, is an attempt to project Theyyam’s power through the bold use of colours. “For this series, I have used only the shades that feature in a Theyyam performance,” Mr. Udayakumar says.

The works are on display online on

Currently an executive member of the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, Mr. Udayakumar feels that the future of contemporary art looks promising.