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Providing jobs to the needy through their pursuit of art

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SERVICE: Thanjavur art painting training in progress at Kangalancherry village in Thiruvarur district on Thursday.
SERVICE: Thanjavur art painting training in progress at Kangalancherry village in Thiruvarur district on Thursday.

Special Correspondent

Two young artists train youth to make Thanjavur paintings and give them jobs

TIRUVARUR: Art is their passion. Providing employment to others is their ambition. Coupling the two, young artists K. Raja and K. Senthil have been training youth in Thanjavur paintings at Kankalanchery village in the district.

A rented house at Kankalanchery is their workplace called Sri Vijayaga Art works. Half a dozen youth _ both boys and girls _ are engaged in producing Thanjavur paintings. Navarasi, a plus two student, has been trained by them. She is engaged in producing a Gajalakshmi Thanjavur painting.

“I could not continue my studies because of financial difficulty. At a time when I was groping in the dark, Raja and Senthil provided training and employed me. The work is very interesting. It is also remunerative. Normally, it takes one week to produce a Thanjavur painting. The time will depend upon the size also,” Navarasi said.

Sangeetha is another artist trained at the centre. She has completed only ninth standard. She is also happy that she could become an artist and spend her days usefully at the centre.

Manjula, who has completed tenth standard, and Anand Babu, another such student, are the other artists working in the centre.

All the youths are from Kankalanchery and surrounding villages. “There are students who study part-time in colleges and who come here to learn the art during leisure time. We teach them. Many of our students have started their own units,” Raja said.

The place was full of beautiful Thanjavur paintings _ "Vennaithazhi Krishnar" "Durbar Krishnar", "Ramar Pattabishekam", "Thirupathi Balaji", "Gaja Lakshmi", "Maha Lakshmi" "Vinayaga" _ constituting almost all Gods and Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon.

Growing demand

There is a growing demand from parties to prepare paintings of their leaders, they said. Still, sometimes it becomes difficult for them to make both ends meet because of increasing production cost.

“Gold foil used for preparing the paintings cost more now. One book containing 25 gold foil leaves costs Rs 1,380. Jaipur stones used for embellishing the paintings also cost more,” Mr. Raja said.

But the interest in the art and the satisfaction of producing young artists keep them going. “We have sent our art works for award competition of Poompuhar this year. We hope to win an award,” Mr. Raja said.

“We are ready to help women self help groups also in learning the art. Artists like us need patronage from Government,” he said. Youth of that area can always turn to them for learning the art and use it for eking out a livelihood.

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