Art

Lakshmi Krishnamurthi showcases timeless artistic traditions of the country with her work

Hailing from a little hamlet near Thanjavur, Lakshmi Krishnamurthy grew up reading Ponniyin Selvan, considered one of the greatest works in Tamil literature. “The protagonist Arulmozhivarman became my hero supreme and it was easy to identify with his world because it was so much like ours. Lush green fields, pristine ponds, the local temple and village square were all part of life for us,” says Lakshmi.

Lakshmi Krishnamurthi showcases timeless artistic traditions of the country with her work

She was inspired to capture these scenic surroundings through art even as a child. “My father was a gifted doodler and my mother would create the most elaborate rangoli and embroidery patterns; it is not surprising we followed suit. I soon realized we could create any amount of design though I didn’t know much about painting techniques,” she says.

However, Lakshmi was not content to treat her talent as just a hobby. After marriage and children, she enrolled at the Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai. “I was blessed to have KK Srinivasulu as my mentor. He encouraged us to learn and experiment with our ideas.”

The syllabus covered a lot of media, which is why even today Lakshmi’s works are on varied surfaces. Studying Indian art only served to whet her appetite to learn more about the country. “It is fascinating to see how art is so integral to almost every Indian community. And how people used local resources to channelise their creativity,” she says.

Lakshmi Krishnamurthi showcases timeless artistic traditions of the country with her work

With agriculture as India’s mainstay, she says, farmers would work intensely for six months and in the quieter months that followed, they would utilize available resources to support their hobbies.

“Colours, material and brushes were all fashioned locally. Chewed or beaten bamboo was used for paintbrushes; in Kerala kusha grass was used, in Rajasthan it was squirrel hair. Gelatin from camels was used as gum, while in Mysore it was taken from buffaloes and in Tamil Nadu they used neem gum. Fresh lime and tender coconut water is still used to coat canvases.”

Lakshmi Krishnamurthi showcases timeless artistic traditions of the country with her work

“All over India, the canvas, colour and scheme is different,” she says. This diversity is evident in art forms all over India and in Lakshmi’s work as well. Delicate murals from Kerala in pastel shades, stone-studded intricate Thanjavur style-art, glass paintings with a multi-dimensional effect, tempera and miniatures as well as Warli, Madhubani and Pithora painitings are all part of her repertoire.

At 75, Lakshmi is still at work, creating canvases and adding to her body of work.

Called ‘Timeless traditions: Enthralling Indian art forms,’ Lakshmi’s work is on display at Gallery G, Lavelle Road till November 3. From 10 am to 6pm.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 7:31:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/lakshmi-krishnamurthi-showcases-timeless-artistic-traditions-of-the-country-with-her-work/article29812971.ece

Next Story