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Celebrating art with mythology



Krishna and Yashoda by M. V. Raji

NOTHING SHAKES Kochi out of its stupor the way Onam does. It was a good time of the year for the city to come forward and display its wares. Besides the markets, which strained at the leash to woo the customer with hard-to-believe markdown sales, art galleries had a full calendar of late. Durbar Hall's gallery A and B, plus the Contemporary Arts on first floor, had a busy month. Armed with a suite of 60 odd paintings, Binesh Augustine from Kannur presented his collection for the very first time. The excitement was palpable as he essayed to explain his themes and medium. On show were a variegated assembly, from landscapes to figurative alternating between oils, watercolours and acrylics. However, it was his still life, which was striking. The individual forms of the fruit retain their private character; there was a sharp clarity of edges so that each object looked as though it were sculpted. The artist ensured that there was no blurring of colours; instead they were modelled in light and shade and the red of the apple contrasted well with the purple of the grapes. Still Life is a good point of departure for artists to study the knack of arrangement and composition and 19-year-old Binesh tried to bring to it a cohesive unity.But elsewhere his landscapes slipped into mediocrity; he dillydallied between giving it an impressionistic treatment and retaining a pictographic realism. His favourite, however, was figurative art and at times he was able to achieve a good line drawing of his subject matter. His study of the mermaids was a case to the point. The plethora of subject matters included a reproduction of the Taj Mahal, done in knife work, portraits of the President, Abdul Kalam Azad and one of artist M.F. Hussain. Another one of an unknown person was done with strips of coloured paper, jaggedly cut and then rearranged. The collage gave it an interesting texture. Binesh is a student of Brushman School of Arts where he is doing a certificate course in fine arts. It came as a surprise to learn that M. V. Raji, an art teacher at Chitralaya was showcasing her voluminous collection of mural paintings for the first time. The themes were vast and recurring, painted over a period of two years. She followed the aesthetic and iconographic details to the hilt and gave to them an outstanding coloration. There was Vishnu, rendered in all his incarnations; Bheeshma lying on a bed of arrows; representations of Ravana and on the other hand were a couple of pictures depicting the life of Christ. These were different not only in theme but also in treatment. The decorative element, so evident in the Hindu panels was missing. The action packed legends gave way to a serene calm that pervades over the birth of Christ.

SUNANDA KHANNA

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