Art Art

Dotted canvas of memories

Celebration on canvasThota Laxminarayana’s colourful presentation of village, Sagar’s dotted muggu art works

Celebration on canvasThota Laxminarayana’s colourful presentation of village, Sagar’s dotted muggu art works  

Artworks of Thota Laxminarayana and Sagar Rachakonda are a continuous celebration of Sankranti traditions

Apart from kites, bhogi and routinely reminiscing about the real beauty of the harvest festival in villages, Sankranti also brings out the artists in many households. Muggu, the beautiful patterns at the entrance on doorways of homes, is a big deal during this festival. Festive patterns are different from what is done regularly at south Indian homes. Of late this practice is on the decline with the chore being delegated to the househelp.

In Hyderabad, the tradition of muggu at homes reaches a peak during Sakranti season. At the break of dawn (earlier, it used to be by the first cry of the cock) the ladies prep the ground by cleaning it and giving it a fresh coat of light cow dung paste or spraying the slurry. When it is still slightly moist (not wet) rows of dots are put in quick succession, with limestone powder or rice flour and then connected to form aesthetic patterns. Digital artist Sagar Rachakonda shares, “As a kid I was mesmerised at how these patterns were made and I learnt them. Now I love doing them. Over the years I lost touch with the practice until one day at a friend’s place, another friend pulled out a muggu pattern that dated back to her great grandmother. My friend handed me the pattern and said ‘do something’. Thus began my work. Currently I am not working on them because I am writing a movie script. I am not the traditional muggu artist. I do digital muggus which have flexibility and can be used in any way. I am digital artist and work to create patterns that can be printed on any size with any colour,” says Sagar Rachakonda. Sagar’s works are big in size and he takes pride in creating new patterns which have also found place in an exclusive kolam website — www.ikolam.com

Dotted canvas of memories

Sagar isn’t the only one who takes pride in his culture and draws inspiration from his childhood memories for his art. Well-known artist Thota Laxminarayan’s art celebrates village life. His signature cows in most of his work represent his connection with them. “Having been born in a family of farmers, I cannot think of a life without cows. No power tiller, no machine can replace them. Having lived that life I cannot detach myself from them. My colours and strokes are dedicated to my background and that keeps me happy,” he says.

Sankranti or Ugadi, Thota’s canvases are vibrant and shows the life one leads in villages. Some of his work celebrates rural games, the everyday scene of young boys walking cows to the fields, feeding them or even flying birds that peck at ripe paddy, clearly a reflection of Thota’s memories. “Honestly, a lot of people connect with my thoughts. Come Sankranti the cows are treated in a special way, village folks engage in games, the scene there is so lively,” he adds. Would he want to switch his muse? “How can I? There is no way I can detach myself from my roots,” he insists.

More power to memorable traditions.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 6:36:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/muggu-ikolam-thota-laxminarayana-sagar-rachakonda/article25991037.ece

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