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SILENT creator

For Prasanna, art is the channel through which he can converse with the world


A MOTHER is inspiration all right, but for painter Prasanna Kumar she is the reason for his being. Also, the subject for many of his works and the translator of his garbled speech.

The Anaimalai-based hearing-and-speech impaired artist, having his solo show at the Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery, looks shy, but his face lights up once you ask him about his works. The self-taught artist has dabbled in oil, water colour, crayon, knife painting and collage for this exhibition.

Painted over the past year, this collection is an eclectic mix of still life, portraits, landscape and imagery. The most striking is the series on women. Clad in white and looking soulful, they represent the mental suffering undergone by countless women through their lives. Especially poignant is the canvas of a woman and child framed inside a broken chimney lamp.

"That is I. Prasanna's father died when he was hardly two and he knows what I went through to bring him up," says his mother.

"He cannot speak, but conveys all he has to through his works," she adds.

The self-taught painter also worked as a commercial artist in Mumbai, where he drew the outline for film banners and learnt how to mix colours from local artists.

He has experimented in the still life series, too.

Take the paintings with a musical instrument and a basket of onions in the background.

Worked on looking at a photograph, he has filled the foreground with a clutch of vegetables, a jug and the like.

The Ganeshas are worth a mention. Prasanna has worked on the images in such a way that the God looks truly like an elephant God, the grey tone and rough skin intact. Another series on the diety is done in collage.

Ask Prasanna what his favourite painting is, and he points to "Happiness", a work featuring a horse, a child and a flower. "All three look happy. That is how we must be despite all difficulties," he states. The exhibition, organised as part of the Kasthuri Sreenivasan Trust's "Meet Coimbatore Artists" series, concludes today. Trust Manager M. Kuppuraj says gallery space will be allotted to all local artists interested in displaying their works. Contact 04222594110 for details.

SUBHA J RAO

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