It is often noticed that artists who excel in one medium find it difficult to cope with another. A good watercolour artist does not find oil or acrylic colours comfortable. The same applies to style as well. Rarely do we find an artist accomplished in varied mediums and styles. Unnikrishnan Chitraragam is one such.
This Ernakulum-based artist is striking for the sheer variety of his art works. True to the title of his ongoing exhibition ‘Nirakkazhcha’ at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery in Kozhikode, Unnikrishnan’s works offer a celebration of colours applied in varied styles.
Like most artists these days, Unnikrishnan too has shifted to the use of acrylic colours as they are more adaptable and easy to use on all kinds of surfaces. However, he refuses to denounce the good old oil colour and the ever surprising watercolour and keeps exploring. And what an exploration it is! Oil paints have been used widely for lifelike landscapes that one could gaze at for hours. Watercolour has been used more for portraits and scenes from day-to-day life.
However, it is his acrylic-on-canvas paintings that are a class apart. He has tried everything from realistic portraits to tantrik and mural painting in acrylic, and has excelled in them. His lifelike portraits of two old people welcome viewers to the gallery. His side portrait of Sree Narayana Guru is a wonderful experiment. The portrait of a child labourer has brought him accolades from across the State.
With 25 years of experience behind him, Unnikrishnan feels the market for art in Kerala is yet to bloom. “We can sell in Fort Kochi where a lot of tourists visit. Our people do not appreciate and value art the way foreigners do. However, the scene is different in Bangalore and other metro cities,” he told The Hindu .
Sadu Aliyur, artist, inaugurated the exhibition on Friday. It will conclude on October 16.