A life with colours and lines

K Laxma Goud. Photo: G. Ramakrishna   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

“I don’t know why my wife sent these things. She is being formal,” declares Laxma Goud as he offers tiny plates filled with sweets, almonds and biscuits towards us. It has been a week since his name was announced among the Padma Shri awardees.

Reminiscence and nostalgia

Amidst the hustle bustle, artist Chippa Sudhakar and his wife Tanju walk in with a sweet box. While the chat and smiles continue, Laxma is in his element. Reminiscence and nostalgia is a welcome sentiment as he recalls folklore and also his antics as a seven-year-old. “I am talking about the Bathukamma of my village, not the kind of Bathukamma festivities we witness in Hyderabad,” he says in a satirical tone. Laxma stands in the centre and does a small jig. “There were two groups of girls representing the bride and bridegroom family. They would sing and dance and the songs were filled with domestic complaints about each other’s family. I enjoyed eating the prasadam of pesarapappu, kobbari and bellam. To impress the girls, I would volunteer to take the bathukammas and put them afloat at the far end of lake,” he recalls with a wink.

It was this environment that had its deepest influence on young Laxma, encouraging him to be rooted at the grass root level. “I saw vibrancy, colours and emotions in my surroundings and never wanted to part with it,” he points out. Later under his teacher K.G. Subramanyan, the thoughts found a meaning. “Through arguments/ presentations, he (Subramanyan) explained the need to be indigenous. One could come from London, Hyderabad or a village, one has to identify with the environment, its landscape and people and be indigenous. Human beings have been painted for centuries. One can only make them look different by bringing out the naturalness,’ he explains.

For decades this ‘ pranteeyata’ was the highpoint of his works as he filled his canvases with men and voluptuous women in saris and red bindis in an intimate and harmonious environment. “I have come a long way. I have gathered in the process and also due my travel a certain kind of confidence. When you are highly motivated, you strive for something different and see things in a completely different light.”


There is also this criticism of his artworks being ‘loaded with eroticism.’ “I was talking about it on the canvas but it was explicitly present in the folklore. In leather puppet shows, the two characters – ‘Vankayamma, Vankayodu’ had no connection with the main story but would enthral the audience with their antics. Or take the example of ‘ Yenkipaatalu’, which were loaded with eroticism,” he remarks.

Now with changing times, his perspective has changed and the eroticism disappeared.

“This happens to every creative person. With skill and practice, there is a change. If you are stuck or repeat yourself, your art is dead. It is a challenge to move forward,” he explains.

His huge work table is neatly adorned with tools of his art. Besides painting, he is also into etching. “It is a fad to talk about tradition, Indianness, folk art and weavers and saving the arts and crafts but we never tried to share those practices in a studio,” he remarks and shows us a water container made of papier mache and the collection created from artefacts collected from the roadside. “I try to bridge the gap between the common man and me.” Frank, forthright and outspoken are a few words to describe Laxma.

If some find him intimidating and temperamental, his friends stand by his assertive nature.

As we take leave, Laxma advocates the revival of Lalita Kala Akademi.

He concludes: “The Akademi has to be given to the artists. There are several youngsters who don’t have a place to work. They need an environment and a platform.”

Positive influence

Artist Chippa Sudhakar has known Laxma since ’86. “The way he expresses himself or shares an experience is amazing. The other day he was narrating about artist Jairam Patel and it was fascinating to hear him talk. It has a positive effect.”

Multi-faceted artist

Laxma is a systematic person. He is a master in whatever he does. Be it sculpting, painting, murals or printmaking, he is clear about what he wants to create. I don’t think there is any other artist who is as versatile and multi-faceted as Laxma. He can work in any media he wants with aplomb. It is wrong to limit him to one region. He belongs to the world.

T. Hanumantha Rao, Gallery Space

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 1:47:47 AM |

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