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Brush with life

Nineteen artists from Kerala are showing their works at the Lalit Kala Akademi

CONFRONTING THE problematic nature of life and marking their experiences through the visual arts are 19 artists from Kerala who under the umbrella of the Kerala Chithrakala Parishath are showing their works at the Lalit Kala Akademi. The commonality inscribing their works is the angst encountered in social realities in terms of genocide, ethnic pogroms, communal violence, power struggle, etc.

The group comes from diverse backgrounds and parts of Kerala. The artists are Byju Dev, Everest Raj, K. A. Francis, Govindan Kannapuram, Hareendran Chalad, Jayashree Venugopalan, Jinan Sekhar, K. V. Jyothilal, K.K.R. Vengara, Mallika K. K., Mohan P., Pradeep Chokli, C. K. Raghavan, Rajeevan Parayil, Sankaranarayana Marar, Sasikumar K., Sathish Thoprath, Sreemal Kumar Raj and Varghese Kalathil.

The Chithrakala Parishath is one of the pioneer organisations promoting art and artists, founded in 1956 soon after the formation of Kerala State. The visionaries responsible for initiating such a venture were P.T. Bhaskara Paniker, cultural activist and artist Balakrishnan Nair.

The artists' works allow easy appreciation in terms of figurative compositions, romantic landscapes, quasi abstracts, digital printouts, iconic deities and cultural representations as performing arts of Kathakali or the exorcism rituals common to the State.

The artists have actively indulged in the representation of perceptual reality, which in certain instances are specifically altered by the situation in which they are perceived. This implies the representation of communal carnage in Gujarat poignantly depicted by Mohan P. Through fractured architectural forms, fragmented objects and acidic colours, the accent is on women, the most devastated victims of the holocaust.

Echoing similar sentiments and emotions are the works of Hareendram Chalad's "Cityscape" composed like a jigsaw puzzle. They are thick and dense with imagery consisting of despairing couples, mothers with children, women and men. His paintings convey a sense of alienation, fragmentation and conflicting tensions. The colours are equally oppressive marking dominant note in his works.

Vengara's painting of "Bodhi" depicts a tree that morphs into an emaciated skeletal creature, reflecting his concern for ecology and environment. And he reinforces this truth with metonymical extension of death of man depicted with nave linear simplicity.

Raghavan's "Vision" has biomorphic forms encapsulated within the human imagery. Is he telling his life's experiences through these telescopic narratives? Perhaps yes, since he is the senior most artist of the group. Parayil's "Green Thought" strikes a posture of optimism, where through the metaphor of the plant and green colour, he implies fecundity and hence hope and excitement of new life.

Sasikumar's depiction of theatre marks an interesting note not only for its compositional scheme but also for its earthy brown colour. "The Actress" occupies an iconic significance and in the background overtly dramatic figures and different types of masks surround her.

Govindan's "Vision of Power" symbolically portrays naked ambitions of appropriating control over lives and properties, an oblique reference perhaps to the hegemonic super power. His iconography is the symbolic horse with its `horse power'. The technique aptly reinforces the concept with its chiaroscuro and monochrome yellow ochre tone.

Other artists who deserve mention are Francis with his gestural abstract, Satish with his large canvas depicting the social activism observed by him as a traveller in "Journey to Thalasserry", Sreemal's "Rhythm" with his structured and schematic compositions enhanced with effulgent chromas, Varghese with his symbol ridden "Blossom", Sankara's "Colourscape Series" which are planar abstracts modulated in subdued tones, Pradeep's light-filled landscapes in mixed media, Everest's impressionistic strokes, Byju's "Between War and Flowers" deflecting hopes and finality and Jayashree's personalised digital print titled "Joys of Colour".

The show is on till November 9, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


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