Art

Madurai’s first art gallery opens

Art from the Heart: Painter Trotsky Marudu, giving final touches to a panel during the inauguration of an art gallery. Photo: R. Ashok

Art from the Heart: Painter Trotsky Marudu, giving final touches to a panel during the inauguration of an art gallery. Photo: R. Ashok   | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

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Inauguration of Varnam marks an important turn in the Temple Town’s art scene

The Varnam Art Gallery, an emblematic Madurai landmark soft launched last November was officially thrown open to public on September 5 after renovation that took almost an year.

The gallery housed in a quaint little bungalow in Chinna Chokkikulam is dedicated to upcoming artists of Southern region and boasts of an impressive collection of works of half-a-dozen contemporary painters and sculptors for its inaugural display.

The makeover building now has a total floor space of 1,500 sq.ft devoted to people with various art works keen to either exhibit or use the space to create more artistic pieces.

Varnam is the brain child of interior designer S.Rengarajan, who along with his four like-minded friends – C. Sendhil, S. Janakiraman and contemporary artists R. Siva and M.G. Ramanan -- pooled in efforts and resources to pick and showcase budding artists from the region. It is the first and the only professional art gallery in South Tamil Nadu.

Three more artist friends, K.C.Murukeson, V.Satheesan and M.Saravnaa chipped in to design the exhibition venue with their canvasses and installations. The result on the opening day was an interesting assortment of contemporary paintings, modern installations and sculptures that brilliantly recorded the dialogue between the artist, the medium and the society. Every piece was a celebration of the artist’s soul, life and beyond. The paintings had a striking depth, glow of colours, formation and placement of images. Others who exhibited their works included I. Karunakaran, P. Raja and Masilamani.

Says Rengarajan, “There is lot of untapped artistic talent available here. People are also willing to invest in art now. Our attempt is to create a platform for a spontaneous connection between the creators and the wider audience.”

The team plans to promote works of local, lesser known and emerging artists by regularly holding their shows free of cost. Professionals will also be invited to conduct workshops on various art forms for students and all those interested. It will also be a window for people to source and buy quality works.

Day One brought in visitors worried about the city’s weakening link with arts and a drive to encourage and expand the art scene in the city. The fact that it was jointly inaugurated by art director Trotsky Marudu, Thiagarajar Mills MD Karumuttu T.Kannan, TVS Srichakra MD Shobhana Ramachandhran and Hotel Fortune Pandiyan Director G.Vasudevan was an indication enough of interest, curiosity and concern of art connoisseurs in the city.

They all agreed many artists put their heart and soul into their strokes but largely remain out of public gaze owing to lack of exposure and opportunities. Varnam will surely fill in that gap and curate well-conceptualised and unique shows that integrate diverse art form in the days to come.

The Varnam Art Gallery and Creative Studio is located at 23-C Sarojini Street, Chinna Chokkikulam. Call 0452-4377889 for queries.

QUOTES:

“I appreciate the interesting venture and the bold initiative of the Varnam team. The gallery has been professionally done up and displays an eclectic mix of modern and traditional paintings, sculptures and installations. There are lot of art people from Madurai in Chennai’s art circle. Now they have a great opportunity to showcase their talent in their own place too. The art gallery has to be nurtured carefully. The proprietor is a student of our school (TVS Matriculation). We will try to promote him by building links between the gallery and our teachers, students and parents.” SHOBHANA RAMACHANDHRAN

“It’s a pity that we didn’t have an art gallery for so long in Madurai. Whereas our city is the seat of so many types of art forms and there is no dearth of budding and professional artists as well. I congratulate Varnam founders for giving creative people such a great opportunity to showcase their work and also learn more. What needs to be ensured is active participation of people, whether they buy or come to see the shows or participate in the workshops. At the gallery today, I particularly liked the paintings of the old streets of Madurai. All exhibits were impressive.” KARUMUTTU T.KANNAN

“I think people are becoming more aware now and appreciating different forms of art. Earlier, if we had to see a good art exhibition, it only had to be in galleries in Chennai, Mumbai or Bangalore. Varnam has stepped in at the right time and the team needs to be commended for providing artists of small towns cities the space to show their work to the world. There are lot of good contemporary artists around who need continuous exposure and attention. Varnam, I hope, will grow with more artists under its fold in the coming years.” G.VASUDEVAN

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2018 11:47:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/madurais-first-art-gallery-opens/article3866550.ece

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