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Monday, Sep 15, 2003

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Life and loneliness


SHORT OF a week after Onam and Café Palette is wearing a new look. This time it is not only the works of Everest Raj that are on display but the artist himself who will be available in the gallery to do caricatures of interested customers. Those who come into the Raymond store can also watch the artist as he gives live demonstrations of his style of painting.


His current exhibition is titled `Penetrations,' which his wife explains, determines his ability to portray a gamut of emotions that make up the mind. Symbolism provides a means to make a telling criticism of the times he lives in. A picture awash in blue signifies the serenity of the human soul; elsewhere a study of a parched field where an emaciated buffalo stands sentinel portrays the hardships faced by a village community. Sadness and pain are often sounded subjects in the criticism of modern civilization. For Everest too, the chief themes are the futility of life and the ultimate loneliness that beset even good friends. This is evident in `Friends,' oil on canvas.

"Misunderstandings can fade the beauty of friendship," he explains. Protests against their inevitability, however, send him to the pristine beauty of the Kerala landscape. His simple watercolours capture the quietude and stillness of his surroundings. Here, there is no bold and strident colouring, instead the soft pastel colours breathe free. Even though it's a scene that is painted over and over again by resident artists, it never tires to lend an air of tranquility to the collection. In one or two paintings the influence of celebrated artist Karunakaran is obvious. The ornamental pattern in black in white and the elastic line that encompasses coiled shapes is very much like that of the older artist. Even the decorative faces of women in profile are similar to Karunakaran's. The versatility of topics comes from a creative mind. Everest is also a poet, writer, dramatist and a lover of nature. In art, his creations include sculptures, mural paintings, poster designs, caricatures and cartoons and woodcraft. He recently displayed his painting titled `Mother Land' during the Kerala Chitrakala Parishath annual exhibition. His best, he says, is yet to come. He plans to make the longest painting in the world. That is a project for the future. Everest Raj will be available everyday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Café Palette. To confirm his presence, call 2351542 or 2351562.

SUNANDA KHANNA

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