Art at Airport

The new art gallery at the Madurai Airport. Photo: G. Moorthy   | Photo Credit: G_Moorthy

Waiting at the security check area of the domestic departure at the Madurai Airport will no longer be boring for the air passengers. They can now soak in some art while waiting for their flights on the first floor of the terminal. A collection of 17 paintings by artist Babu K. were the first ones to be mounted on July 1.

“Art galleries are permanent feature in all major airports in the country and from now on it will be the same in Madurai too,” promises Kuldeep Singh, the Airport Director. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has provided a space with a view to encourage local talent. “Art galleries will provide a platform for the amateur and budding artists to exhibit their skills. Only condition is that the art should not promote any ideology,” he says.

According to AAI, the display of artists’ work is not limited to paintings and can include any other form of art.

So far, 11 artists have registered to display their works by turn. Each painter will get a fortnight’s free display. The artist is permitted to put a tag “for sale” with price fixed on it. “Ninety per cent of the sale proceeds will go to the painter and 10 per cent will go to AAI as token fee,” says Kuldeep Singh. On an average, three enquiries are coming in apparently.

“The art gallery has enhanced the aesthetic value of the Airport. I would like to take two or three art pieces for my daughter who is interested in painting,” says Ranjith Panicker, a banker in Abu Dhabi, returning after attending a marriage function in the city.

Echoing the view, K.S. Kamala Kannan, a businessman from Dindigul, feels art gallery is a value addition at the airport. “I am a regular traveller and every time I visited the airport, I used to see some inspiring old photographs of Madurai and Gandhiji, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi on the wall. It is refreshing to see paintings this time,” he says.

“The old photographs are from The Hindu archives and have now been placed in our VIP lounges in international departure and arrival and domestic terminals,” says Rajeevan, Terminal Manager.

Painter Babu K., known for his black colour technique, is happy. Though he maintains anonymity as none of his paintings is signed or titled, he asserts, “My works are my mouthpieces and my paintings do not warrant signature as I have developed a distinct style.”

Vibrant colours in mixed media, varied themes and masks made of knitwear wastes attracted spectators to his works. His paintings of tiger and bird in primordial colour schemes resemble tribal images. The interaction between the artist, his work and the spectator is important as it takes the discussion to a different level. “It is satisfying to see their response as they make an attempt to understand what the painter is trying to convey,” he says.

Babu mostly uses wood blocks in his paintings, a nostalgic reflection of his childhood days on the stone-pitched pavements of the narrow lanes in Subramaniapuram. Living most part of his life in the congested area of the city, he seeks the help of nature to liberate himself from the clutches of life’s complexities. The wood blocks also depict the congestion.

Knitwear wastes and colour stencil cut work are common in his paintings. “I promote the idea of art from waste. The masks that I have done are made from the knitwear wastes and I have used pastel colours on that. It gives a three dimensional effect,” Babu says.

Babu’s paintings will be on display till July 15. On an average 2,000 passengers fly in and out of Madurai daily and this only means the artists’ passionate works will attract more eyeballs and appreciation.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 6:42:34 PM |

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