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Art for the common man

The works of city-based artists mesmerised Coimbatoreans at a four-day show organised by the K Sreenivasan Trust.



Students viewing the work of Srishti Ramesh - Photo: K. Ananthan

A Painting of a "Mankudirai" (mud horse), typically found at the entrance of every village and said to guard it, welcomed visitors to the exhibition hall at the Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery and Textile Museum.

Enticing art lovers was a cornucopia of paintings, all executed by 16 city-based painters — members of the Chitrakala Academy. Most of the 50 works that had been bunched for the 20th annual painting exhibition of the Academy had been well chosen.

The show had been put together to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Gallery. Eleven more exhibitions are in the offing during the year, which has been declared Artists' Year.

The people who walked into the museum from January 15 till 19 seemed captivated by the four works of young painter Srishti Ramesh.

The 24-year-old self-taught artist had used an air gun to give life to his subjects who had been painted on velvet. The air brush technology used by him lent a photo-like quality to "Goddess Karumariamman", "Lord Shiva", "Angel" and "Terrorism". If the deity impressed with her sharp features and dignity, "Angel" enchanted all with her ethereal beauty. The canvas on terrorism hit home, showing the futility of waging war.

Another good piece of work was M Santosh Kumar's water colour of an old wrinkled lady. Priced at Rs. 1,000, it received many an admiring glance. C. Arjun's "Homecoming" and "Love Lost" were poignant. While the former— an oil painting in a dark shade of blue— portrayed a melancholic woman with a pallu drawn over her head and a frisky child walking back towards a row of houses, the latter showed the remains of a person's life.

Did he die? No one knows. All that you saw was an unfinished two-line letter, its words blurred by tears, a burning candle, crumpled paper and a broken string of pearls.

V Jeevanathan, the artist who sketched the "Mankudirai" had also worked on the haunting "Blue Moon", which had a young girl standing against a blue background as its subject.

Most of the painters stuck to the traditional depiction of the human form, barring a few who experimented with shapes. Human figures and landscapes were predominantly chosen for subjects and the works of newcomers were priced relatively low.

The Kasthuri Sreenivasan Trust also organised its 8th Annual painting workshop during the period.

Those of you who missed out on this edition of the exhibition, do not despair. The Gallery is to hold four-day shows till the end of the year during the second week of every month.

SUBHA J RAO

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