Painting workshop by Dalit Resource Centre brought out some emotion-charged works in colour, writes T.SARAVANANWhen the poet of nature, William Wordsworth, the 18th century bard and a member of English Romantic Movement defined poetry as "spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions," little perhaps did he realise the universality of his words. To take it further, his expression holds good for any work of art, and paintings in particular. For, in every canvas, there is always more than what meets the eye. And so proved a group of skilful painters at a painting workshop at the Rural Theological Institute in Chinna Odaippu Village.Organised by the Dalit Resource Centre (DRC) recently, the workshop attracted around 30 painters from different colleges of fine arts across the State including Chennai, Pondicherry, Kumbakonam and Tiruchi.
Packed with feelingsSettling in the quite environs far from the madding crowd, the painters with their masterstrokes gave vent to their feelings on the canvas."A painter does not need an occasion to record his impressions. He is a bundle of emotions capable of reflecting on anything anytime. Even an abstract subject draws onlookers making their own inferences. A painter's frame is not just a raw statement but loaded with ideas with different layers of understanding," says T. Adhiveerapandian, part-time lecturer in College of Fine Arts, Chennai. And quite as much, the paintings on display were loaded with messages. The one depicting a snake with two heads at opposite ends facing each other on a hilly terrain with a human figure watching the proceedings from a hide out left a lasting impression."Each element of it might look like a casual drawing. But, in fact, it is a deliberate attempt to create a depth. Stating the obvious is not a rule here. For, what appears to be an object need not be the same the next time you look at it, the dimensions keep on changing. Especially, the snake painting can be a deliberate attempt to portray the power crisis. Or it can be a central force trying to manipulate things creating differences between two branches of same tree. From communal clash to universal brotherhood, the painting can mean anything," confides K. Natarajan, also a part time lecturer in the College of Fine Arts, Chennai.Most of the paintings carry a subtle sarcasm taking a dig at the laidback attitude of people in reacting to social issues. Mental trauma of oppressed sections in the society is also well portrayed.Workshop organizer Anbuselvam, agrees: "This is the third time DRC is organising this workshop. When it started in 1997, the burning issue was communal discrimination. Now, the colour has changed to a certain extent, though not fully eliminated. The approach of other sections of the society towards the oppressed has changed considerably for the good."
A potential weapon"Art is always considered to be a weapon of liberation and it is vividly explained through the paintings of these artists. But the pitiable factor is that the artist does not get the same recognition as his or her paintings do. Our attempt is primarily to pool in all the creative elements and provide a platform to express. The outcome is quite encouraging," Mr. Anbuselvam explains.The participants of the workshop also included two B.Com students of St. Joseph's College. During the initial days, they were taken on an excursion to Karungalakudi Jain rock cut caves, beds and Pappapatti, Keeripatti, Nattamangalam villages. Besides, the participants had a first hand experience of traditional folk arts performances in the Ramankulam village. "As a professional training institution, we have the responsibility to see to it that these promising creative talents do not drift away from their roots. Many in their attempt to project themselves try to ape Picassos, which is not advisable. Hence, such fieldwork becomes imperative to rejuvenate and rekindle their spirits. Besides, it also reminds them of their cultural roots, which are second to none," G. Chandrasekaran, Principal, College of Fine Arts, Chennai, justifies the rural visit. "Also sensitive individuals, these creators have greater role in ensuring social freedom. Hence, they need proper exposure to get a feel of our culture," Anbuselvam complements.
Enthralled"We could feel the vibration around, when we were taken to the village. It was an exhilarating experience at the Karungalakudi Jain caves. I was actually transported to a different world. The rocky terrain, its colour and texture bring you nostalgic memories of your primitive past all in a flash," endorses Mr. Adhiveerapandian.Each painter is expected to present two drawings to the Resource Centre, which plans to hold an exhibition on a later date. "We approached a few colleges to play host. We feel it is imperative to take these works of art to young students. It will motivate and inspire them to become creators. We also plan to organise a painting workshop exclusively for women. Their point of view too needs to be recorded," shares Mr. Anbuselvam. The pangs of pain and tears of joy reflected in the paintings created an inexplicable feeling in the spectators.