Art

Landscape of the mind

Sreekumar Sreedharan Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar   | Photo Credit: C. Ratheesh Kumar

Lines, straight or curved, maketh this man. When Sreekumar Sreedharan takes off with his Rotring pen from a certain point on a piece of paper there's no telling where he's headed to.

“I let my mind lead me,” he says. And so the pictures form, effortlessly, in one seamless motion.

In many shades of black and white, his works swing from intricate mazes to fluid outlines, no matter what the subject, often reflecting a strong sense of nostalgia. Temples feature regularly, complete with serpent groves just like trees, ponds and winding roads.

On taking a closer look, something more is bound to appear from in between the lines. “I can look at trees for the longest time. Aren't they beautiful?” he asks, adding, “I grew up surrounded by temples and other elements typical of a village.”

Happy with his pen

A few abstracts in acrylic show that Sreekumar is otherwise happiest with his pen.

Hailing from Ayur, the artist-photographer-scriptwriter-director took a fine arts degree from Thiruvananthapuram before working in Mumbai as a visualiser and in the UAE as art director soon after.

And so, the exhibition captures glimpses of the Middle Eastern way of life – veiled women, falcons and forts. Sreekumar made it a point to travel deep into the desert where he chanced upon nomads, ruins of old buildings and monuments preserved for posterity.

Back after 10-12 years abroad, he hopes to find the time to draw and hold more exhibitions now that he is finally putting his plans into action. This is only his second exhibition in India. The first was at Suryakanti gallery a few months back. “I hope to hold shows in the metros as well,” he says.

Framing the Arab culture

His ‘Ode to Solitude', drawings of the Arab culture, was received with warmth by art aficionados in Abu Dhabi, where he worked in an advertisement agency. “The Arabs loved it,” he says, smiling at the thought.

“The canvases were large and featured a lot of elements from the place.” The exhibition also saw a lot of buyers for his works.

He also taught art to eager young amateurs in his spare time there.

“I always tell them to work on a lot of still life. That helps strengthen lines. But I insist they do it their own way, instead of merely copying the work.”

His own drawings come from the doodling that happens when he is on a phone call or in between work. The strokes bring to mind the works of artist Namboodiri. “Yes, he was a strong influence in my college days,” Sreekumar admits.

The artiste in him also resulted in two tele-films Onapookal and Idhalukal and a script for a play Vishukanni for Asianet Radio while he was abroad.

Sreekumar's role at the agency meant clicking away with the camera and so includes a portfolio that covers interiors, products, fashion, food and more. He says he likes landscapes and interiors the best as there is a lot of play with natural light.

His studio InFrame at Statue in the city is just a few months old. The NRI in him is slowly re-adjusting to the way of life here:

“Organising this was hard enough. People are yet to make art exhibitions a part of their evening outings. But this is something I've always wanted, so I'll learn.”

“What I'd really like is to create illustrations just like from the days of A.S. Nari. I would cut out his works from the Malayalam magazine he worked for,” the multi-faceted Sreekumar reveals, a tad wistfully.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 6:32:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/landscape-of-the-mind/article3451971.ece

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