A Correspondent

KALPETTA: Mural paintings that embellish the walls of old palaces and temples in the State have always fascinated people.

But owning one may be an expensive affair. The main reason is the high cost of production.

If mural art can be portrayed on cheaper and easily available medium such as bamboo and the use of artificial colours can be reduced, the cost of mural paintings can be brought down.

Two artists at Bhavam art gallery, Kalpetta, have been trying to make a transition from the traditional mural art form of the State.

They have made hundreds of bamboo wall hangings, bamboo containers and masks decorated with mural paintings depicting ‘Rasakreeda,’ ‘Siva Thandavam,’ ‘Unnikkannan,’ Lord Ganesh, ‘Hamsam and Damayanthi’ and so on. Changes have been made not only in the medium but also the colours.

The natural colours have given way to modern acrylic colours.

“We have learnt the basics of mural art by using natural colours but the dearth of natural colours and the high demand for mural-like wall hangings forced us to use artificial colours,” Sujith Chakkalakkal and Surya Chembarathi said.

They said that though they used modern artificial colours and bamboo poles as a medium of drawing, they followed the techniques of mural painting in the State.

To create the texture of traditional mural art, a wall is whitewashed at least 21 times, but Sujith and Surya create the same texture on bamboo poles or containers by applying similar number of coats of distemper.

Sujith and Surya have been trained under G. Bhargavan Azhikode, a renowned name in mural painting. He taught the duo the technique of making mural paintings on bamboo containers.

“We use processed bamboo here, so the mural miniatures on the bamboo poles will last for long,” Sujith and Surya said. Depending upon the size of the painting and workmanship, the price of a work varies from Rs.150 to Rs.1,500.

Sujith and Surya have been training children in mural arts during holidays for the past three years.

They have also conducted exhibitions and workshops on mural arts in various parts of south India.