In memory of an artist

Girish Kumar with wife, Mini Sukumar, and daughter Anna Mini   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

When Girish Kumar plumbed the dark abysses of his mind to come up with a rainbow that he splashed on canvasses, his family and friends were pleasantly surprised. From a void of depression and angst came paintings that were brimming with life in vivid shapes, colours and compositions.

A four-day exhibition that begins today remembers this self-taught artist and fellow traveller of many creative people in Kerala, writers, poets, filmmakers, artists and activists. Three short films, all less than 15 minutes, paint the man behind the paintings in clear colours.

A painting by Girish Kumar

A painting by Girish Kumar   | Photo Credit: S Mahinsha

Acclaimed director and cinematographer Venu’s short film, Chitrakadha captures the evolution of the artist in his own words. Girish began romancing colours while recovering from a debilitating accident in 1997, which cost him a limb. Girish says how he began with a monochromatic colour scheme and then discovered colours seeping into his works.

Candid takes

Venu captures a Girish, lost in introspection, as he muses on his tryst with the painting brush and how painting helped him cope with his disability and black moods. The film was made just before the inauguration of Girish’s first exhibition in Kottayam.

The artist is candid while discussing his paintings and his nervousness as he unveiled his work for the public in 2001. Chitrakadha also shows us an exuberant Girish, lost in music, singing without any restraint amongst his wide circle of friends.

Varakalum Nirangalum, a film by author and scenarist Unni R, celebrates the artist and his astonishing range of paintings and sketches. Again, Girish speaks to the viewer about how much painting helped him come back to life.

The pick of the three is undoubtedly the moving Ente Achan, Girish’s daughter Anna Mini’s tribute to her father. Candid and personal, the short film unerringly captures Girish, warts and all.

A painting by Girish Kumar

A painting by Girish Kumar   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

Anna speaks through the film, telling us about a man who loved life and yet, at times, could be difficult to live with. She talks about her father who loved to travel and did not let his disability circumscribe him in any way. She also talks about his projects, many of which are likely to remain incomplete as Girish passed away at the age of 56.

All the three short films capture the idealistic man who came into campus politics because of his staunch belief in certain ethics and values. In one of the films, Girish laments the death of shared dreams and visions, as he ponders, a trifle sadly, how he was forced to be in the midst of some of them even when they had moved on in search of new dreams.

Calling him a survivor, poet Anitha Thampi writes: “Girish paints absences... An intense history of life trapped in the sensuous lush green...Untamed, without coordinates, rendered in struggling syllables. The phantom experience of an amputated space, a time lost....””

On canvas

An exhibition ‘Missing Spaces’ will begin today (November 8) at Kerala Lalitakala Akademi Art Gallery, Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan. Organised as part of the memorial programme ‘togetherfuture, remembering Girish,’ the three short films will also be screened on the same day.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 7:21:08 AM |

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