Art

This Kerala auto driver-artist spotlights the need to go back to nature with his paintings and craftwork

A Santhosh

A Santhosh   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

A Santhosh’s exhibition ‘Let’s Go Back to Nature’ in Thiruvananthapuram raises a clarion call to protect nature

A Santhosh is no stranger to everyday sights and sounds in and around the city. A “nature lover”, the autorickshaw driver steers to creating art while he patiently waits for his next “savari”. Santhosh says he makes it a point to carry his canvas and paint in his vehicle when he sets out for a day’s work.

“I love to paint during the little breaks I get. Sometimes, if I’m on a ride and glimpse a sight that makes an impression on me, I click a picture of it with my phone and reproduce it with colours later. At other times, I recollect from memory,” says the Kanjirampara native.

A painting by A Santhosh

A painting by A Santhosh   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

The ongoing solo exhibition ‘Let’s Go Back to Nature’, which opened on Friday at the Museum Auditorium, compiles a collection of such paintings. Most of the works raise a clarion call for the importance of finding our way back to nature and the need to protect it in the modern age. Some of the paintings zoom in on landscapes, farmlands, wildlife and slice-of-life vignettes, while others capture Kerala’s cultural symbols such as Kathakali and Theyyam figures.

As someone who gets to “know the city inside out” in his line of work, Santhosh likes to make quick, impressionistic sketches of landmarks in the city he catches sight of. And so the Kovalam lighthouse, a view of Secretariat at dusk, the vibrant mood at Vettucaud Church during its annual festival all find pride of place in the collection on display.

A painting by A Santhosh

A painting by A Santhosh   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

But it’s not just through colours that Santhosh endeavours to drive home the point. He has put on display some of his craftwork done in wood and dry coconut shells as well. “These are made from discarded wood I managed to retrieve during my rides. I feel even deadwood is not without its use. It’s still part of nature and one can create art out of it,” he adds.

It’s no surprise that Santhosh has decorated the interiors of his autorickshaw with his own paintings.

The exhibition is on till December 22 at the Museum Auditorium. Timing 10 am – 6 pm

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 6:36:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/this-kerala-auto-driver-artist-spotlights-the-need-to-go-back-to-nature-with-his-paintings-and-craftwork/article30357804.ece

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