Art

Defining the thin line

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V.V. Ramani gives a brief sketch of Yusuf Arakkal, who brings alive fellow artists through portraitures at an exhibition.

Drawing, the most basic of traditional art mediums, has moved from being preliminary studies for paintings and means of documentation to attain a stature as a medium of expression in its own right. One major area of sketching, which gained popularity, is the art of portraiture which emerged out of a desire to capture inherent nuances of an individual rather than his physical appearance.

Yusuf Arakkal the Bangalore-based artist, wanting to highlight the power and strength of drawing, has worked on a series of portraits over a period of three years, which form the collection of drawings titled ‘Faces of Creativity’ displayed at Varija Art Gallery in DakshinaChitra, Muttukkadu. Inspired by the sketches of people he did during his travels abroad, the artist embarked on a journey depicting artists of the Indian art fraternity. Ranging from Amrita Sher Gil to Adimoolam, K.K. Hebbar to M.F. Husain, Reddappa Naidu to Ramkinar Baij, the series is a visual documentation of a generation of artists.

In these drawings, which are done on the reverse side of the canvas using pen and ink, the artist has focused on capturing the characteristic traits of the individuals rather than portraying their facial features, though they are based on photographs.

Just as every accomplished musician cannot have a perfect concert each time, Yusuf’s works also vary in quality. Not all drawings come alive here. Owing to his personal interactions with the artists, some sketches have that artistic quality, while a few look like preliminary studies. Framed by a space demarcated by a square, the portraits emerge with familiar expressions, gestures and body language, trying to capture the individuality of each artist.

Treading a thin line between portraiture and caricature, the artist has done these drawings keeping the lines minimalistic and simple, with only some dots and scribbles to create a textural feel in the background. Paul Klee said, “Drawing is taking a line for a walk” and each artist charters his own path.

Presented by DakshinaChitra and Gallerie Sara Arakkal, the exhibition is on till September 30, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. [Tuesdays holiday]

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 1:48:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/Defining-the-thin-line/article14628554.ece

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