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Mosaic of talent and colours

The recently concluded National Art Camp at Bolgatty Palace was a draw of talent and colours from across the country.


PAMPA PUNWAR loves the feel of different textures. As an artist she is constantly striving to build up an anthology of surfaces that she can use as a backdrop for her works. Earlier, she attained this by employing the technique of impasto wherein paint is applied thickly on the canvas. Recently she came across a tempting set of textile seals; these have now replaced the brushwork; deployed on the surface they create the setting for all her paintings. At the National Art Camp where she is an invitee, Punwar commissions seals that are typical of her new-found environs; stylised elephants, in a range of tones. Pampa routinely finds poetic metaphors in nature around her and so it wasn't long before she assimilated the magic of Kerala and spouted it with commendable clarity on her canvases.


The National Art Camp is part of the ongoing National Exhibition of Art. Twelve artists from across the country were sent out invitations. A week, as a guest at Bolgatty Palace, with no intrusions other than the faint chirping of birds, a tranquil sea momentarily ruffled by the filing past of fishing trawlers; it's an allure no one would miss. The verdant foliage has had an enduring effect on Vrindavan Solanki. For the last 30 odd years the black rocks that model the mountains in his hometown in Gujarat had influenced his colour scheme, which was a limited black and white. His debut visit to Kerala and Solanki has suddenly discovered colour in his palette. A superb draughtsman with great talent for line and form, his images are fashioned in a deftly spun hatch work. The subject for this camp is a majestic tree that he has described both in the morning and at night. Veteran artist Perumal from Chennai is a chronicler for his local, village society; documenting their festivals and customs in his individuated style. Wiry, dark figures carry a raw look and tell their story with a utilitarian ritualism. A Bride Going to Her Marriage is an exquisite work of art done in vibrant oranges and reds, executed with a palette knife. A die-hard Varanasi-ite where religion rules the roost, Mridula Sinha decides to give her archetypal goddess a more human touch. A run of the mill woman is apportioned a couple of arms too many; her divinity takes the back seat as she aggressively demands a bunch of coconuts, so central to the Malayali diet. Mridula's canvas is replete with people that she met on her journey to Kochi; sleeping or reading the dailies they represent the typical traveller.


Satish Wavare, whose work of art is, also up on display at the national exhibition, has a penchant for combs of various sizes. In fact, he uses them as the surface for his paintings. Enamoured by a Kathakali performance Satish enacts the Dasavatar on his canvas, setting it in an abstract milieu. There's an enigmatic quality about R. P. Dabral's simplified landscapes; bathed in mystical greens they evince a feeling of loneliness. The hills are made up of rocks sans vegetation; Dabral's take on the merciless felling of trees in his home state of Himachal Pradesh. The style and execution of Basant Kashyap's canvases give away his Rajasthani roots. His colours are resplendent, like his state; the figures are dressed in classic attires. Basawaraj's well-structured canvases give the effect of etching, relief work that he achieves by using a variety of tools. Kerala's very own Kaladharan and Babu Xavier's works are a delight to view. Even as Kaladharan gives his chosen medium of glass a break, he continues his works in layers. His works enthrall as a variety of tones, hues, lines and figures materialise from the background. Babu Xavier's copious imagery that was earlier limited to a small format is seen here on large canvas. The underlying motive of his work is to evince a playful attitude. Whatever the theme, Xavier's drawings are marked by perfection and suffused with joie de vivre.


SUNANDA KHANNA

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