Tamil Nadu

Pains and sufferings in blood

Artist J. Salomon Raja explaining about a portrait to visitors at the Music School in Ramanathapuram.— Photo: L. BALACHANDAR

Artist J. Salomon Raja explaining about a portrait to visitors at the Music School in Ramanathapuram.— Photo: L. BALACHANDAR  

His left forearm is dotted with prick marks as J. Salomon Raja, a first generation artist from Dalit community, draws his blood to create portraits to depict the pains and sufferings of human beings.

A syringe and a set of sterilised needles find conspicuous presence in his painting kit when he settles down to draw portraits. Product of Government College of Arts, Chennai, Mr. Raja, who hails from Peravur in Ramanathapuram district, has a penchant for creating portraits using his blood.

This was evident as an array of “blood paintings” dominated his maiden exhibition of sculptures and portraits organised at the Government Music School here. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 2002, he had been fighting all odds to promote his artistic endeavour.

A sand sculpture of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the right side and a metal-like sculpture of a composed Sri Lankan Tamil militant on the knees before he is shot by the armed forces on the left draw attention as one enters the Music School to take a look at the display.

Inside the hall there is an array of 100-odd blood paintings, portraits, sculptures, oil paintings, pencil sketches and water colour paintings, most of which focus on the loneliness, pains and the sufferings of human beings. “I use my blood to give a realistic feeling,” he said in an interaction with The Hindu .

The artist has come out with a Buddha sculpture in a unique style. Unlike the common meditation posture, Lord Buddha is seen looking up to the skies in this finely crafted sculpture.

He made the sculpture to convey the message that love conquered everything, said the artist.

His creations probably reflect the pains and the sufferings he had undergone in his life after his father left the family when he was hardly five years old. A school dropout, his mother, running a petty shop, was left shattered but never lost the resolve to bring him up. Finding his talents in drawing, his mother helped him join the Government College of Arts.

The joy and pride were missing in the artist’s face as he burnt his fingers in organising the exhibition, which lasts till December 12. The Madurai office of the Department of Art and Culture had promised to help him with financial assistance to organise the exhibition but let him down at the eleventh hour, he noted.

As he stood helpless after arranging the venue and fixing the dates, village leader P. Karuppiah, a retired jail warder, and his friend Sathish Kumar helped him get sponsors, while his mother gave her savings of Rs. 30,000, he added.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 2:28:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/pains-and-sufferings-in-blood/article7973459.ece

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