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New space for art

IT'S A mini coup of sorts. Coetze and Krishnamurthy rub shoulders, share cultural space with artists Karunakaran and Kaladharan as a bookstore in downtown Thevara lends 200 sq ft of its limited area to accommodate serious works of art. As bibliophiles wander into Just Fiction to browse over the latest bestsellers, willy nilly their attention is riveted to a smattering of high class art on the side. It's a trend that began haltingly a few seasons ago but has picked up pace of late. From art being displayed along with textiles to coffee shops in the midst of mobile phone kiosks, the focus is towards providing an enjoyable, relaxed outing experience for the rushed-for-time modern-day buyer.

Launching art galleries makes good aesthetic sense (commercial too, proprietors are hoping) and the latest to join the ranks is BobSun (short for Bobby and Sunny); a miniscule space carved out of a gallery of books, a collection that is much more than fiction. Says owner Paul George who strayed into the field of art at the behest of his philosophy teacher, later friend: "The idea of an art gallery within the bookstore was so appealing; besides I haven't seen it anywhere else. The goal is to provide a wholesome aesthetic experience to the citizens," helping them to slow down their lives and reflect on its more meaningful aspects.

Expectedly, the opening exhibition at BobSuns features works of artists closest to the owner's heart. The lion's share is devoted to artists from Chaitram Institute of Art, Palluruthy including V.B.Venu, Sunil Rockey V.G and Sunil Vallarpadam. In fact the gallery's logo bears a painting by Venu titled Headless Nudes and Butterflies.

The perfect lighting coupled with flawless framing enhances the value of Sunil Vallarpadam's outstanding works. That he is a student of veteran artist Venu is evident from the excellence in his craft, the poetic delicacy of his line drawing and intensity of colours that the artist employs. According to George, both the artists express the rich tradition of Indian miniatures in the most contemporary and personal manner.

There is not one broad categorisation to which these works belong; they are divided into various genres of figurative, abstract and landscape. C. N. Karunakaran gets closer to his ideal of abstraction as he breaks the surface into geometric shapes and fills them with decorative, lyrical figures.

Sekar Ayyanthole plays around with mythological creatures, harnessing the vainglorious beasts with firm brushstrokes. Scenes from street life inspire Sunil Rockey even as he concentrates on the play of light and shade, depicting the shimmering effect of the sun's rays and the shadows that it casts.

Congested public places are dealt with skilfully by applying quick touches of pastel, soothing colours.

Even as the gallery is small, there's a significant collection of art available for the prospective buyer. It is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. and on Sundays from 4 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.


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