Art

Reflections of life

Exhibition of paintings by Sunil Lal at Vylopally Samskriti Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: S. Mahinsha   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

I finish a quick tour of ‘Re-Visit,' an exhibition of 30 paintings in acrylics, at the Lalitakala Akademi art gallery at Vyloppilli Samskriti Bhavan. Sunil Laal T.R., the man behind the master strokes, has a question: “Didn't you notice the feminine streak of the male characters in my paintings?”

‘I am not handsome but cute' is the title of one of his paintings and this is a recurring theme in many of Sunil's works.

Born at Ambukuthi village in Wayanad, Sunil spent his childhood in the close proximity of the tribal people of that area. He is, in particular, influenced by the ways of the colourful Paniyar tribe. “I had access to the customs and lives of the tribal people as I practically grew up in their midst. It is interesting to observe how they have adapted to contemporary lifestyles. They may be educationally backward but they own colour televisions and mobile phones.” This paradox is beautifully captured in Sunil's paintings. There are tribal women in Kerala's own ‘gowns,' with plastic chairs in the background.

Tribal life

While pursuing a post-graduation in print making at the Visva Bharati University in West Bengal, Sunil was surprised to see that the lifestyle of the Santhal tribe in West Bengal shared certain similarities with the Adivasis in Kerala. From his cycle tours among the dwellings of the Santhan tribal people evolved the ‘Santhiniketan series' that is on display at the exhibition.

Another set of artwork on display highlights the technique of etching, Sunil has created a series of sketches that highlights parts of his own body.

The Krishna and Gopika series has a Krishna dancing with his Gopis.

Another work – ‘The House Husband' – is the crystallisation of an experience that Sunil holds very close to his heart. When his wife, Ambika, a nurse, went to work, it was Sunil who stayed at home to take care of their son, Adi.

‘The Lady's' Store Pals' is the latest among Sunils works. It is a take on today's metrosexual. Sunil's exhibition concluded on Friday.


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 6:12:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/reflections-of-life/article2780696.ece

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