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Surreal journey

Surrealism comes alive in the mixed media creations of Madurai-based Raffic Ahamed.


THE FIRST thing that strikes you about Raffic Ahamed's works is the dominance of blue. It comes in all shades and the artist says the colour denotes the happier things in life. The 22 mixed media creations on display don't really tell stories on their own. Peek a little, though, and you will be able to take a glimpse into what the artist really wants to say.

Take the "Waiting" series. A set of four mixed media collages, it has waiting women as its subjects. Whom are they waiting for? Madurai-based Raffic says he derived inspiration from the women waiting for their husbands to return from the Gulf. "They have money and material comforts, but lack the comfort that companionship brings. That touched a chord," he adds.

In "Waiting IV", one of the women is carrying a child. Half the arm is her own, the rest is hairy and looks male. Is he trying to show how the Gulf wife plays a dual role at home?



The artist with one of his works and a painting from the 'Waiting' series.

The works put up at the Kasthuri Sreenivasan Trust as part of its "Artists' Year", have all been painted in 2003.

Raffic does a different kind of collage. Using magazine covers and photographs as base, he works his ideas around them in oils, pastels and crayons to create stunning pieces.

The artist, whose works have been picked up by collectors from across the world, says there has been a shift in attitude and more people are walking into art galleries in India. Coimbatore, which can't really boast of having an art-loving public, is changing too, he observes. "It is these art lovers who will turn into collectors," he remarks hopefully.

The 43-year-old painter dabbles in three basic colours — Prussian blue, yellow ochre and burnt Sienna — and their secondary shades. "Even the background I choose has these hues," he says, adding that they lend a dreamy feel to the work.

"I work at an unconscious level, my brush just glides across the canvas," he says of his collages. He started dabbling in this art form by default. Raffic says he did not have money to buy colours, so he did the next best thing — work using magazine covers and create collages.

All the works are for sale, but there is no fixed price tag. The show concludes on February 10.

SUBHA J RAO

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