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Traditional touch

Paintings from different parts of the country have come together at an exhibition in Poompuhar


ART IS a reflection of tradition, they say. Truly so, one would think as one catches glimpses of the myriad styles of painting that our country has nurtured over the centuries at "Indian Paintings", an exhibition on at Poompuhar.

Name it and the style of painting is represented... canvas, kalamkari, oil, chamki work, glass, metal relief, nirmal, mat, palm leaf, peepul leaf and bamboo, to name a few. The prices range from Rs. 22 for the peepul leaf work to Rs. 1,20,000 for a huge Tanjore painting that depicts a temple procession.

Walking around the showroom is like taking an artistic tour of the country. The gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon in Tanjore art rub shoulders with kings, queens and courtiers in Rajasthani silk painting, while human forms in bright batik vie for attention with a pictorial depiction of Orissa's tribal customs done on paper.


Adding a touch of innovation are the frames of the enigmatic Monalisa and the Elephant-headed God done in what is called Kanjeevaram silk weaving in shades of brown. The pieces are priced at about Rs. 2,200.

The gem paintings in 24-carat gold, which draw inspiration from the royal houses of the desert State, are embellished with semi-precious stones such as amethyst, topaz and jade. The themes lend the works a rich and grand look. Of course, some of them look a little too ornate, but it depends on what you are looking for. As for the prices, they could go up to about Rs. 2,500.

The gem paintings are done on cloth and marble slabs. The ones done on marble slabs, mostly jewellery-like designs, have meena work that's typical of the Jaipur style. The minutely detailed pieces would complement a traditionally decorated home. They are priced between Rs. 550 and Rs. 1,500.

For connoisseurs, there are some works of Sripathy Acharya and reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma (the one of Krishna stealing butter is lovely). Quite a few paintings have a calendar art look.

A 10 per cent discount is being offered on the range, on show till February 14, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Poompuhar, Anna Salai.

SAVITHA GAUTAM

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