Organised by Kalanjiyam, the exhibition features works of five artists from Pudukottai and Tiruchi

Ravi, a Tiruchi based artist has travelled to Chennai, Bangalore and New Delhi to exhibit his paintings but like the proverbial prophet he is not hailed in his own city. Shivakumar, a self-made artist with no professional training, wants to see his works up against the walls of city’s art lovers.

“Finally city based artists like me have a local gallery that displays and sells our art,” says Ravi, echoing the sentiments of his fellow artists, five of whose paintings are up at the art expo organised by Kalanjiyam, a six-month old gallery dealing with paintings exclusively done by local artists. The maiden expo featuring works of five artists from Pudukottai and Tiruchi has kept in mind the conservative spending habits and aesthetic tastes of local customers.

Affordable art

With over 500 works priced between Rs.600 and Rs.15, 000, the expo aims to create awareness that art is not always priced prohibitively. “We want to send the message that works of indigenous talent are available at affordable rate,” said A.Suresh, proprietor of Kalanjiyam. According to Mr.Suresh, not less than 20 upcoming artists have registered with the gallery.

The works of each artist is distinctive by the techniques and themes explored. Chinnappa’s art, akin to the cubism form, is like looking through a prism or stained glass. Themes like symbols of Tamil culture depicted through various means, including Bharathanatyam mudras are concealed by geometric patterns in bright colours.

With a mythological theme running through his works, Ravi’s art is a ‘blending of drawing and painting’. Bold lines made by the inverted end of a paintbrush brush are etched over paintings to give the impression of an engraving. D. Ramamoorthy’s charcoal paintings reflect his obsessions with crows. Why crows? “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and crows are more interesting to observe than say peacocks; their habits are intriguing,” says Ramamoorthy whose works reflect his observation of the birds.

‘Village’ Mookaiya crayon sketches with wavy lines infuse a wild abandon in depictions of a puffing steam engine, wild bull at a jallikattu and a horse at the race course. Soft hues, water lilies and floral motifs in knife-cut paintings are Shivakumar’s forte. “A sketch of the Rockfort is guaranteed to sell. It is Tiruchi’s brand tag and everyone wants a piece for themselves. To capture this market, an artist has to balance creative instinct with popular taste. That is the only way I can ensure all my paintings are sold,” he admits candidly.

Creating appreciation

The gallery is an opportunity to experience art first-hand, says Ramamoorthy. “If children are brought here, it may inspire them to draw and discover their talent.” Adds Ravi, “our ultimate aim is to cultivate an appreciation for art in the city so that upcoming artists need not always flock to metros to find takers.”

Catch the expo at Jamal Building, 7 cross, Thillai Nagar, before September 26 anytime between 10 am and 8 pm.