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Monday, Mar 17, 2003

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Celebrating Nature


THE WORLD of Nature is dominant in the introductory oeuvres of two young friends, Sreedevi Purushotham and Jayanthi Moorthy, where water lilies, hyacinths and colocasias organically take root, are lovingly nurtured and come to maturity in jewel-like oils on canvas. A glistening droplet of water lies suspended on a broad, waxy leaf; elsewhere a mass of ripened cereal grass sways and moves in a rhythmic composition. Clearly, nature is in song.

Having grown up amidst the verdant greens of Kerala, the duo is agonised that their home state should only throw up images of the backwaters and coconuts palms. Picking up the gauntlet, they have sourced their creations to the ubiquitous yet oft-unseen scenes around the State. A thickset bamboo grove or a deserted middle class house where the undergrowth has burgeoned relentlessly, they compel the busy Kochiite to pause and appreciate what his mind's eye would miss on a regular, humdrum day. Yet the two styles are highly individualistic and are a commentary on their persona.


Sreedevi, a post-graduate who works as an interior designer, says even in the aftermath of rapid urbanisation she has kept her bond with nature alive through her paintings. Her detailed treatment of banana leaves which joyfully capture the first rays of sunlight, the broken tiles that lie abandoned on a derelict roof top and the wrecked wall in the foreground compare well with the very impressionistic treatment that the creepers on a background tree receive.

Jayanthi, a Chennai-based graphic designer, excels in digital art. She brings that sense of drawing and design in this traditional style where the clutter of a bamboo shrub is eased by giving a hazy and indistinct handling to the shrubs, so that the spiky leaves and ramrod poles get her undivided attention.


Without any formal training in art, both self-proclaimed artists tucked their canvases and paint boxes into the boot of their car, and drove a few miles out of the city. There they discovered a profusion of subject matter, waiting to be rendered. And so while the salient feature that defines their creation is a realistic translation of everyday scenes; the stillness of a pool of residual water from an earlier shower, or the squeaky-clean freshness after a famed monsoon, the works are marked by a strong sense of sensibility. In a word, their works are unfussy. There is no story, no narration, simply a beckoning to celebrate nature.

SUNANDA KHANNA

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