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Wednesday, Mar 17, 2004

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Brush with new-age hues

Lalit Kala Akademi's Regional Art Exhibition captures the art scene of South India

ARTISTS HAVE also been influenced by globalisation because their exposure to international concepts and education has widened their horizons, said art critic and visiting faculty, NIFT, Lakshmi Venkatraman. She was delivering the annual Dhanapal Memorial Lecture on "Current Trends in Art in the South" at the Lalit Kala Akademi on Monday evening. She added that artists needed to remain true to their roots, while drawing inspiration from various quarters. "That germ of an idea that comes from an alien nature needs to be embedded in our own culture and ethos," she said, giving a slideshow presentation of work by young artists who have experimented with new media.

The artists she talked about had attempted to move ahead with experimental media such as wood, chemically treated lotus leaves, paper, glass, silver foil, metal, silk, fibreglass, and even staples and ball bearings. The lecture was part of the ongoing Regional Art Exhibition of the Lalit Kala Akademi. This year, the exhibition brings together 60 artists from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Kerala. Each artist has two works on display, whether painting, sculpture, installation or graphic art. The artists' works range from the brilliantly obscure to the numbing mundane, but gives one an idea of contemporary south India art.

Some like the painting of the busy Charminar thoroughfare look like scenes from a newspaper's cartoon strip while others explore new ideas and attempt to contemplate infinity. Women seem to be the favourite theme of most of the artists, though the five elements, life, pastoral scenes and Nature also make appearances.

Sanjay Ashtaputre's `Dancing to his Tunes" series shows beautifully painted Rajasthan's stringed puppets that seem to be spinning in different directions. Bholekar Srihari's graphic etchings are interestingly thought out while Mohan Kumar's straightforward watercolours seem to distil daybreak and twilight into mere colours with just a hint of the form of houses and walls.

Visitors can also wander into any of the Akademi's four studios to watch young artists at work, whether painting or sculpting or working with ceramic or dabbling in graphic art. The Regional Art Exhibition is on till March 21, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Gallery of the Lalit Kala Akademi Regional Centre, 4 Greams Road, Nungambakkam.


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