Giving an artistic touch to Thirukkural

A Pondicherry University faculty to aims to bring out the philosophy of the couplets in paintings

Published - August 11, 2020 04:05 pm IST - PUDUCHERRY

R. Sowmya, a guest guest faculty with Pondicherry University, with her artwork. Photo: S.S. Kumar

R. Sowmya, a guest guest faculty with Pondicherry University, with her artwork. Photo: S.S. Kumar

An assistant professor in Puducherry has embarked upon a novel idea of drawing paintings to bring out the theme and message of Thirukkural couplets of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar.

R. Sowmya Iyal, a guest faculty with Pondicherry University, has taken up the work to draw one painting a day to project the theme contained in the couplets.

She began painting the couplets on January 1 and has so far completed 220 out of the total 1,330 couplets. Sowmya has planned to complete her work by August 23, 2023.

“I had been illustrating for stories and poems as a freelancer and I wanted to illustrate on a work in Tamil literature. I selected Thirukkural since it is such an intense and ancient treasure for us. It is full of humanity and truth which has lessons in life for every human being,” she says.

Sowmya chose surrealism as an art form for her extensive work. Her mission is to link the Thirukkural with paintings as the message of the Kural is unparalleled.

Surrealism has no boundaries for our interpretations. It gives enough space for a viewer to be a part of an artwork.

“Though each verse has only two lines, one can infer many meanings and it is very deep. Similarly, surrealism gives freedom to convert the context in the couplets into a visual medium. I will study in depth the message and draw painting for one Kural a day,” she says.

“Valluva Perundhagai (Thiruvalluvar) must have keenly observed the dynamics of human emotions and their relationships and gave it as a wonderful literature in his magnum opus.

“Every couplet is connected with humanity. Many couplets portray the exact scenario of today’s lifestyle, be it about relationships or human psychology. Thirukkural gives us solutions “What to do and what not to do,”she says.

Sowmya says that while using surrealism as an art form, the conversion of words into visuals go hand in hand.

“I use metaphors to depict human emotions contained in the couplets. Using metaphors will easily convey the message with the right interpretation. It will also be interesting to see Thirukkural in a surreal art form,” she says.

Sowmya had been aspiring for painting right from her childhood days. She had intended to join a Fine Arts course, but to no avail.

However, she started concentrating on story board and visual effects and now has been able to bring out her works. “I hope that my work would bear fruit”, she says.

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