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Touch of tradition

THOUGH SHE studied zoology at Stella Maris College, the seeds of artistic talent must have remained dormant in Banu. For, after she got her graduate degree Banu took lessons in Thanjavur painting.

As one faces the puja room in Banu Krishnan's residence, one is at once struck by the number of Thanjavur paintings she has done. Karumari Amman occupies centre stage, surrounded by smaller versions of Ashtalakshmis and so on. The living room walls are also decorated with pieces that she has created. Banu learnt the art from a master several years ago and herself began teaching it over eight years ago. Of course, one may find the usual Ganeshas, Sri Rama Pattabhishekam, Radha Krishna, Lord Venkateswara etc. But she has also made adaptations of Mysore paintings and calendar illustrations. She has also taken up Saivite themes such as Balatripurasundari, Kameswara-Kameswari, Nataraja and the like.

Banu is not partial to Hindu themes alone. She has painted the images of Guru Nank, Guru Gobind, Mahavir, Jesus, Mary, Sathya Saibaba etc. She has also done Egyptian subjects like Tutankhamen , besides a doli scene of North India, with the bride being taken in procession in a doli. What attracts attention is the neat execution and balanced use of gold foil and semi-precious stones.

As there are many orders for paintings Banu has employed a couple of people to help her. She has held exhibitions of her work at Chennai and Coimbatore and has also taken part in the Society Collection Exhibition in Mumbai. She won an award at the Mahatma Gandhi Birth Centenary Exhibition at the Victoria Technical Institute, Chennai in 1996. At present she has over 10 students and these days even goes to Bangalore and Coimbatore to conduct classes.

Apart form Thanjavur painting, Banu also does glass painting, Kalamkari, Madhubani and stained glass work, and has made room dividers, panels and lampshades.

LAKSHMI VENKATRAMAN

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