Colours for a cause
B. Padma Reddy
Lakshana Art Gallery and the State Gallery of Art are playing host to paintings with a rural and social touch.
ECHOING BELIEFS Self-taught artist Chitra's works portray a lost childhood.
As a medium of expression that satisfies many urges, each different in different practitioners - as a cerebral activity for some, skill-oriented craft, a medium of self-gratification, a strong tool of rebellion, the manifestations of art are varied and weird, each accountable to one's upbringing, exposure and grooming.
Chitra is a self-taught artist whose recent works are on show at Lakshana Art Gallery. His works echo his beliefs and a lost childhood.
He belongs to that set of artists who believe that the purpose of art is to bring about a social change. A school dropout, Chitra imbibed his love for art from his father, a well-known traditional sculptor of Nalgonda district who, engrossed with his work and drink, pushed the family into starvation and Chitra into child labour.
It was the physical pain that led him to take up painting. Picking up nuances from his father, he taught himself the art of painting and sculpting and used his craft to overcome poverty - creating murals and painting signboards, illustrating stories and working as an artist and cartoonist for magazines and newspapers.
He has made about 100 works empathising with the theme of child labour and even today, paints only on social issues.
The present exhibition inevitably shows traces of a mellowed man, comfortable in putting forth a subdued portrayal of his concerns. The smooth finish, the lyrical line, the rhythm and the balanced composition may be too conventional in the free flowing and aggressive state of contemporary art.
Yet they bear a stamp of a conscious learner, worker and creator. The exhibition is on view till December 9 at Lakshana Art Gallery, 101, Shanti Nagar, Masab Tank, daily between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
There was a parallel art movement in Andhra Pradesh along with the Bengal art movement of the 1930s and 40s. This happened in the towns of Machlipatnam and Rajhamundry, which had stalwarts like Damerla Rama Rao, Pramod Kumar Chaterjee, Varda Venkat Ratnam, V.V. Bhageerathi, Potluri Hanumantha Rao and many others producing wonderful works of art relevant to the period, which was marked by the nationalist movement.
An exhibition at the State Art Gallery, titled Sapta Varna, is now showcasing the works of artists belonging to the Andhra region of the State. Almost all the artists are self-taught, learning from available local resources, reading books, viewing exhibitions besides participating in competitions. B. Sree Nagesh, a student of Damerla Rama Rao Memorial Art School, exhibits a series of unbelievably skilful realistic images of a teenage girl and proves his calibre to be creative too through his stylised Lakshmi.
Korsala Seetarama Swamy, who specialised in glass paintings of gods and goddesses, has created a series of Ganeshas for this exhibition.
Kocherla Venkateshwar Rao of Bhimavaram alienates himself from figuration - putting forth a hybridisation of abstract vision, sedated colour harmony and a spacial bifurcation through linens, unlike the other abstractionist of the group S.V.R. Shastry, whose application is more spontaneous and forceful.
Vempatapu of Igagavaram, M.K. Udai Kumar a BFA graduate of the Andhra University, hailing from Palakol, and Thippani Venkat Rao, popularly known as Teevee of Vijayawada, are well-known artists of their areas, who have regularly been involved with art activities and art organisations. All three work on social themes with different ambitions.
Udai and Vempatapu adhere to basic symbolism dealing with human emotions in the present social scenario. While Vempatapu's compositions are sombre and gloomy, Udai subscribes to the acrylic sheet with a bright pallet, deft playfulness of colour and allegorical blocks.
Teevee's compositions of people at work present native activity with simplicity akin to that of an illustrator. Anand's finely rendered landscapes are a visible shift from the coastal tradition. N.S. Sharma of Rajahmundry shows his vision of modern art through his paintings in various styles.
The show is a brave and sincere attempt by talented people who, secluded by the twist of destiny, nurture a wish and a hope to be a part of the contemporary mainstream.
The exhibition is on view till December 11 at State Gallery of Art, Kavuri Hills, Madhapur, daily between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
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