Culture on canvas

THE TRAIN of thought running through K. Jayachander's latest series of paintings, on show at Ashvita Art Gallery, is tradition. The themes are simple scenes that could have been lifted from any temple town in the State, done in cheery colours.

Bright purple, brilliant turquoise, vivid reds, greens and oranges dominate his part installation-part paintings, all of which depict the traditional imagery of South Tamil Nadu, particularly Thanjavur. His work seems to follow a pattern of vibrant borders enclosing the subject, which is usually a semi-abstract representation of an ordinary sight. He fuses the figurative and abstract schools to create art that would be both unambiguous and appealing to the Chennai audience.

Culture on canvas

Jayachander breaks imagery down into shapes and strokes to depict the idea that culture is a living, growing idea that evolves over time. He believes tradition needs to be preserved as it gives us an idea of where we came from and where we are going. The three-painting "Culture is not old" series illustrates this idea with its use of mobile phones, spinning tops, palm-frond fans and other knick-knacks to strengthen the idea of the painting.

Pointed triangles and odd-shaped quadrilaterals form his canvases, with one titled "Seated Bull" being cut into the shape of a bull with a bell dangling around its neck. The ubiquitous "STD, ISD, PCO" booths are a favourite with this self-taught artist. Besides, two-wheelers, autos, town buses, bicycles and jeeps find pride of place in his work. In "Temple Town", he has compartmentalised images into the crowds seen in famous temple towns, a family on a bicycle on its way to the temple, and packed hotels and shops that seem to spring up in crowded tourist towns. Jayachander has the ability to turn recurrently seen images into interesting canvas characters with a touch of colour and style.

The exhibition is on till June 24, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Ashvita Art Objects and Artifacts, 11, Second Street, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, ph: 28476063.


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