Some achievers

K.K. Hebbar, Ganesh Somayaji and Syed Asif Ali.

K.K. Hebbar, Ganesh Somayaji and Syed Asif Ali.  

Following are brief notes some of the artists who have left firm footprints, contributing to art in their way and hold promise for the future:

Narahari G. Pavanje

Born in Yellur village of Udupi district in 1892, he was a well-known person till his death in 1965. Having studied art at Sir J.J. School of Arts, Pavanje competed in Mysore Dasara festival where he won two awards in 1919 and 1920. Later, as a member of the Dramatic Association of Kailasam, his artwork for a play impressed Maharaja Krishnaranjendra Wadiyar of Mysore. The maharaja gave him a scholarship to pursue studies in art in Germany. With 50 gold sovereigns, he left for Germany in 1923 and was awarded two doctoral degrees there. He was influenced by Dutch painter Rembrandt. However, Pavanje was known for his skills in painting in Old Mysore style. Two of his reproductions of paintings by Rembrandt and Titian, a painter of the Venetian School, are displayed in Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore. Pavanje had gifted them to the Wadiyars. Towards the end of his life, when an organisation expressed a wish to felicitate him, he refused. He also refused an offer to be a member of a prestigious society, indignant that the honour was granted to him at the fag end of his life.

Kattingeri Krishna Hebbar

Hailing from the coastal belt, he was born in South Kanara in 1911 and rose to great heights. He completed his diploma at Sir J.J. School of Arts in 1938 and taught there for five years in the early 1940s. Later, he studied art at the Julian in Paris. He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1961, and the national award from the Lalit Kala Academy in 1956. He was influenced by the traditional life in the rural coastal belt. He also painted landscapes and abstracts. His works were exhibited by the National Gallery of Modern Art, Prithvi Theatre Gallery, Jehangir Art Gallery, as well as in London, Paris, Poland, West Germany, Brazil and Italy. He died in 1996.

Ganesh Somayaji

An artist from Bantwal, he is known for his water colours and is an art-activist. Born in 1949, Mr. Somayaji is the founding-secretary of Artist's Combine. He says painting with water colours is a kind of “entertainment” for him. With oil and acrylic, there is scope for getting the colours right at a later stage. “You can paint over (what you have done). But with water colours, you have to mix the colours before you start using them,” he says.

His favourite is spot painting of landscapes. He obtained first rank in the Government Degree in Drawing and Painting from Mysore Technical Institute of Visual Arts in 1973. He has also worked as an art teacher in Roasario School.

Syed Asif Ali

Known for his live portraits, he has been living in Mangalore since 15 years. Ali hails from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district. After obtaining a diploma from an art school in Tumkur district, he completed Master of Visual Arts from Hampi University and joined Mahalasa College of Visual Arts here as a lecturer. Although, he paints with oil and acrylic paint, his favourite medium for landscapes is water colours.

He prefers to paint landscapes at the spot, rather than being stuck in a studio. However, he “uses the experiences gained from spot painting to create contemporary art”. Mr. Ali has won the Mysore Dasara painting competition nine years in a row, after which he stopped participating. His works have been exhibited across the State and in Delhi.

Ganjifa artist Raghupathi Bhat and Peter Lewis are among the senior artists who have gained respect for their work outside the region, while upcoming artistes include L.N. Thallur, Wilson J.P., Jeevan Salian, Manjunath Kamath and Dinesh Holla.

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