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Galleries get busy

One of the exhibits at the K.C.S. Panicker show at Chitram Art Gallery.

THE ART season is upon us and the galleries are throbbing with activity. Last week saw a compilation of photographs and prints of the inimitable K. C. S. Panicker at the Chitram Art Gallery. Tenacity of the Moon, a show by Sosa Joseph got going at Kashi Art Gallery, Mattancherry.

K. C. S show

The K. C. S. show was, needless to say, a treat. The black and white photographs give an insight into Panicker's colourful and full life. Also on display were prints of his much celebrated works which incorporate his vision composed of his varied experiences of life, his style bold, simple and Ajanta-like, his colours refreshingly simplified.

Born in 1912, K. C. S. Panicker is clearly a phenomenon. He graduated at the Madras Christian College and then joined the Government School of Arts, where he later went on to become the Head of Fine Arts section. He was also the initiator and founder of `Madras Art Movement' and Artists' Commune Cholamandal Artists' Village.

Group exhibition

At the Durbar Hall, `Ethnic Colours' was another exhibition of paintings and sculptures of 25 different artists. While most of the paintings portray man and his struggle for existence in his day-to-day life, the `nudes' by B. D. Dathan look serene, almost ethereal. Artists like Ajaya Kumar and V. G. Abhimanue's minimalist and unique style catch the eye instantly. Where vivid and flamboyant colours are the treatment given to a lot of paintings, Narayana Pillai's black and white charcoal rendition demand equal attention. Sathyapal's paintings draw a lot of inspiration from the `Warli' art. Some of the works exude dark humour but they still score high over the sculptures.

Solo by Sosa

`Tenacity of the Moon' is the first solo show of paintings by the young and most definitely upcoming local talent, Sosa Joseph.

Calm and composed, Sosa prefers to let her paintings do all the talking. Alumni of the Ravi Varma College of Fine Arts, Mavelikkara, she went on to get her post-graduate diploma from the M. S. University, Baroda. Married to Mohan Das, another talented artist from Kerala, Sosa lives and works in Kochi.

Her paintings on display depict the prevailing, yet oppressed woman and how she must struggle to overcome the hurdles of the present day male dominated society, which has curbed her independence and creativity for years. Her works like `Moon Watching', `The Peeping Nun' and `Clown' reflect on how the woman is incarcerated amidst the fortifications of responsibilities and mundane chores, leaving her barely enough time to admire the reflection of the moon in clay cooking pots with downcast eyes.

Shoe image

The liberal portrayal of jackfruit, rabbits and women in states of undress celebrate the female fertility and her power of creation and questions the so-called `moral boundaries' of the Indian society. The waxing and waning moon in the dull night sky is a striking feature of Sosa's paintings. Another interesting feature, though a bit over used is the shoe.

Some of her self-portraits, like `Needlework' and `Naοve' which have stars set in red bring forth her strong and proud Communist upbringing.

The `17th Of March' is a very special piece and depicts an episode of her own life says Sosa. Indeed, with the same tenacity that the beautiful moon must reveal herself amidst the dark clouds and the glaring and often harsh morning sun, the woman must come out of the deepest, darkest closet to reveal her capabilities, beauty and intelligence.

On till February 6 at the Kashi Art Gallery, the show with its bold and stark figurative style is hard hitting in just the right proportions.


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