Lockdown no barrier for art

Former Minister E. Valsaraj. Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

If forced home confinement during the COVID-19 lockdown has been as boring as watching paint dry for some, for former Minister E. Valsaraj, the period of isolation has helped him re-engage with his passion for painting.

Mr. Valsaraj, who holds a record of sorts by getting elected in six successive elections (1990-2016) to his constituency of Mahe, Kerala, and serving a 26-year unbroken stint as MLA, has been unable to return home due to the lockdown and has been self-isolating in a house.

It is almost two months since he came to Puducherry along with Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy when the latter paid an official visit to Mahe. He has used the abundance of spare time on his hands to hone his skills with water colours.

“I am focusing on landscapes based on this city which is second home to me,” Mr. Valsaraj said.

The two paintings he has completed will add to the collection of about 40 paintings.

Mr. Valsaraj, who has handled the portfolios of home and health in Puducherry, has been passionate about painting since childhood. After college he enrolled for formal training at the Kerala School of Arts in then Tellicherry, Kerala, near his hometown.

“Oil was my preferred medium but it is a bit time-consuming and since I took the plunge into politics as a youth I have been dabbling in the simpler mode of water colour,” he said.

The Congressman who was inspired to take up politics by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, counts as a high point a solo he conducted in 2010 with 35 of his works at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Delhi, which was opened by then Vice-President Hamid Ansari in the presence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was then UPA chairperson.

Though Ms. Gandhi, who is keen on art, had suggested that some other dignitary open the exhibition, she kept her word of turning up for the inaugural, he recalled.

The Akademi event was followed by an exhibition at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Mr. Valsaraj plans to hold a solo exhibition of landscapes based on his days in Puducherry shortly.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 1:52:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/lockdown-no-barrier-for-art/article31618016.ece

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