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An effort at putting art in public domain

S.R. Praveen
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making a statement:Artist P. Sreekumar gives finishing touches to a painting at the ongoing exhibition of his works in front of the Public Library in Kozhikode on Sunday.— Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup
making a statement:Artist P. Sreekumar gives finishing touches to a painting at the ongoing exhibition of his works in front of the Public Library in Kozhikode on Sunday.— Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

Painter P. Sreekumar believes that his art belongs to public places than to the elite confines of art galleries.

More than his art, he wants the issues that he tries to highlight through his works to reach more people and stir discussions.

He seems to have achieved some success in that, going by the number of people who stopped in the middle of their busy strides on Sunday in front of the Public Library here, to take a closer look at the canvas and to interact with him on the ideas behind the colours.

Sitting under the wide canopy of trees in front of the library through the day, Sreekumar completed a painting in protest against the recent instances of atrocities against women, especially the gang rape in Delhi.

On two canvases stitched together were depicted a group of girls with fear writ large on their face, as vultures with human faces fly down from a blood red sky.

Behind the girls are hands with spears and sticks, waiting to attack the vultures. In front of them are two protective hands belonging to an unidentified entity.

Not a least bit of abstraction there. But then, it seems to be a conscious decision.

“I want this message to be accessible to the maximum number of people. Abstraction is of value in the art fraternity, but not when you want to make an impact in the public on an issue,” says Sreekumar.

He says that the work is as much a commentary on the unsafe environment that women has to face in the country as it is about the prevailing situation in which every man is viewed with suspicion.

“We are moving towards a situation where a father has to think twice about hugging his daughter, lest the people around them mistake it for something other than parental love. This atmosphere has to change,” he says.

But this is not the first time that he is shedding light on women’s issues.

A series of paintings titled ‘She,’ which he started in 2008, is an ongoing project on women’s freedom and empowerment.

He now plans to tour the length and breadth of Kerala and conduct such public painting initiatives to raise these issues.

S.R. Praveen

P. Sreekumar stays away from abstractions to make realistic statements and take his art to the maximum number of people.

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