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Age no deterrent

An octogenarian, artist Abdul Kareem Lalji has proved that it is never too late to indulge in creative pursuits.


ABDUL KAREEM Lalji saw his grand-daughter painting one day. She had left it half finished and he decided to complete it. So engrossed was he in his work that only when his wife called him did he realise that it was well past his lunch hour. When his grand-daughter saw the completed painting, she was surprised and suggested that he should take to painting seriously.

He was 75 then, and has not stopped painting since. The Octagenarian now copies from photographs and other visuals in the beginning for his work. Lalji came into contact with master artist S. Dhanapal, former Principal of the College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai and began to learn from him. Initially for quite a while, he was asked to draw still life and copy from prints of other great artists' creations. Lalji was impatient to start painting and one fine day Dhanapal told him that he was ready to wield the brush. After Dhanapal's demise, artist Premalatha Seshadri also guided him in his creative pursuit.

An exhibition of his paintings are now being held at the Alliance Francaise de Chennai till January 7.

Titled `As I see the world', most of Lalji's work are landscapes which are imaginary, though made up of impressions formed during his journeys.

He began with watercolours, graduated to acrylics but now handles only oils, which he really likes. A couple of his watercolour landscapes are fetching. There are a few monochromatic landscapes in oils too of waterfalls and a couple of sea scapes in multi-colour as also studies of the sky.

One painting of a few boats parked near the shore with coconut trees in the backround has a sense of fragility to it, while there are some that depict flowers and and interiors of houses.

Though most of the works in the show have been done in the last couple of years, a few from an earlier time are also seen. When viewed together one can discern the evolution of the artistic sensibility of Lalji. He has proved that age need not be a barrier to creative pursuits.

LAKSHMI VENKATRAMAN

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