Eminent painter C. N. Karunakaran died at a private hospital in Kochi on Saturday noon following a brief illness. Mr. Karunakaran was the former chairman of the Kerala Lalitakala Academy and had won many prestigious awards.

Born in 1940 at Brahmakulam near Guruvayur in Thrissur District, Mr. Karunakaran secured diplomas in design and painting from the Government School of Arts and Crafts in Chennai. After completing studies, Mr. Karunakaran worked as an art director in Chennai for many Tamil films. He returned to Kerala in the 1970s to take charge of Kochi-based Kalapeetom, an institution formed by painters from across the state.

He later started “Chitrakootam”, the first private art gallery of Kerala. He has also worked as an art director for Malayalam movies such as Aswathamavu, Ore Thooval Pakshikal, Akkare, Purushartham and Aaleesinte Anweshanam.

His illustrations have appeared in many literary and cultural publications in Malayalam, giving life to characters in great works of modern Malayalam literature.