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Drawing from the epics

THOUGH HE has degrees in Commerce and Law from the University of Madras, Sattiraju Lakshminarayana or Bapu, as he is popularly known, has been more inclined towards creative pursuits. His creativity has found vent as cartoons, caricatures, portraits, illustrations, calligraphy, graphics, and also in films. Bapu's first drawing was published in 1945.

He has passed the higher examination in free hand outline and Model drawing of the Government Technical Examination at Madras (1954). He has been the art director with several advertising firms and has illustrated books and magazines, designed books, prepared several audio and video lessons for schools.

Between 1967 and 1995, he directed 42 films, in Telugu, Hindi and Tamil, and has been the recipient of several State and National Awards for his work. What's more, a font has been named after him for his style of Telugu lettering. Bapu's strength is the line. His style has marked resemblance to that of Gopulu, a well known illustrator of Tamil publications.

Some of Bapu's screen prints and digital prints of his illustrations are currently on show at the Vinyasa Art Gallery. His themes are drawn mostly from the legends of Rama and Krishna and other literature such as Janardanashtakam and Thiruppavai. The figures are drawn with free flowing lines and filled with bright, flat colours.

The human forms reflect the Telugu culture. The bright colours, be it red, blue or yellow, and the lines of the figures lend a decorative effect. The artist uses interesting colour schemes such as the Ganesha with grey head and beige body.

Some of Bapu's concepts are quite unusual; `Sivakesava' is a combination of Siva and Vishnu in a dancing pose; one can find the female half, that is Parvathi, of Ardhanareeswara carrying baby Ganesha with young Muruga standing on Siva's side; Rama and Krishna are unified in a single figure with calligraphic representation of "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" in Sanskrit designed as a decorative arch above.

Similarly, Andal and Ranganatha are depicted as Ardhanareeswara, while "Divine Brothers" portrays Ganesha and Karthikeya as boys playing together. The ten avatars of Vishnu have been depicted in a single figure, in which one can view the ten different forms of the Lord. A single horizontal panel represents the Ramayana — from Rama's wedding till the Pattabhishekam.

The exhibition is on at the Music Academy premises till January 10, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.


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