Raja Ravi Varma’s art serves to be a legacy in the history of Indian art.
Rukmini Varma launched her book on the artist, Hidden Truth on April 29, the 170th birth anniversary of Raja Ravi Varma at an exclusive event at Gallery g on Lavelle road.
“Colour is what causes life, colour is life,” declared Rukmini clad in a traditional kasavu mundu.
“The colours of life are yellow, blue and red. If you interpret those colours in the right way and in the right intensity, then you can get absolute realism and actualisation.”
Hidden Truth was born out of countless stories from her mother and grandmother, and a collection of Raja Ravi Varma’s notes from the palace in Kilimanoor.
“The little boy held a piece of charcoal,” with these words, Rukmini begins a collection of intricately woven stories.
In conversation with her grand-daughter, Gauri Varma, who moderated the discussion, Rukmini was candid when speaking about her past and all she knew of her great, great, grandfather; bridging the gap between the artist and the man.
Rukmini describes this book as one that is different from all others; a “hidden story”of his mind. “I got an eerie feeling that he was communicating with me,” she says, on reading her great great grandfather’s notes. She outlines the book as a quest and a look into Ravi Varma’s journey. “It is not just bloodline or lineage, I felt something more,” she says.
However, despite such a deep connection with him, she describes herself as quite different from her world-renowned ancestor.
“As a person I’m very different from him, he was a very disciplined man. He had a rigid sense of work schedule, which I don’t have, and I’m not at all disciplined. He would wake up at 4 in the morning, get up and meditate for half an hour. At the first ray of sunlight, he would be in front of his easel and he would work until 5 in the evening and this kind of wonderful persistence is something I lack,” she says chuckling.
When asked about Ravi Varma’s greatest legacy, she says, “It was not just about paintings or visual representations of the epics, he was trying to give a message on the importance of life. He drew inspiration from colours and cosmic forces..”