An `epic' exhibition

Sumit Bhattacharjee

VISAKHAPATNAM: Different people have different ways of expressing things. Balayya took the paint and brush to vent his feelings. He turned his hobby into a profession, and after his tenth standard, plunged head on into the world of art without realising its intricacies.

Soon hit by a rude shock, he shifted to Vijayawada as a banner and sign board painter to eke out a living. But the fire always smouldered in his belly. And after burning the midnight oil for over three decades he came out with a three-day solo exhibition that concluded on Monday at Viswapriya Function Hall. Over 100 of his works were kept on display at the show co-sponsored by Camel and Videocon.

Basically dwelling into portraits, the highlight of the show was the depiction of Ramayana and Mahabharata. He took five years to paint the epics on the canvas. Each epic is depicted over 20 paintings and he feels that if some temple or religious institution buys them, they can serve as educative work.

Justifying this, he says, "Today parents hardly have any time to narrate the epics. And the concept of nuclear family has made grandmother's tale a distant affair. If all my paintings are kept in a temple a cursory glance would be enough for the children to gain the basic knowledge about the epics."

Using patchwork, modern art and thumb work he has made a number of portraits and framed them, ready for display at homes. Though women seem to be his central theme, he has copied quite a few masterpieces.

A self-made artist, Balayya says, "I did not undergo any formal coaching in art. Right from my childhood I was good at sketches and later seeing the paintings of various artists I picked it up on my own, experimenting with colour schemes on the back of cinema posters. This is my first exhibition and if things go well I would like to continue."

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