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Discover the beauty at home


IT'S THE unspoiled experience and pristine virtue of the Kerala landscape that leaves a lasting visual impression on all local budding painters. Even as it's the State's usp that agencies hard-sell to lure a potential tourist, it turns out it's also the most abiding theme in the artist's oeuvre.

Ten young artists lift it to the level of prime importance, recording and describing nature in its manifestations. These youngsters have all passed through the portals of Chaitram Institute of Fine Art, Palluruthy (some are still students) and are displaying their works at Chitram Art Gallery.

At first glance their canvases look similar not only in theme but also in treatment but a closer look and the differences become noticeable.

Roy, who moved to the Gulf six months ago in search of greener pastures, finds nothing can beat the familiarly beautiful surroundings of his home State. His landscapes clearly are emotionalised, arrived at through his own inspired feelings. He lends a delicately veiled texture to the countryside by wrapping it with a light haze. Moreover, Roy chooses coastal areas sans human figures; in a sense those that are untouched and pure, retaining an idyllic and tranquil atmosphere.

Students are often called upon to do site drawings and more often than not they head to Mattancherry to summarise the precinct's novel architecture or to Fort Kochi to capture the busy jetties and the Chinese fishing nets. Even as the scenes look repetitive each of them have been enriched by the artist's own colour symbolism and animated by his individual experience.

Shyam and Arun have both chosen to describe these areas; Arun paints with greater abandon, the strokes are quicker and confident as he brings more figures into his canvas. The shadows that they cast are not in black and gray but are composed of colours.

Both use short, choppy brushstrokes to describe the leaves on the trees.

There's a deliberate casualness about the works, which shows that they haven't simply stumbled upon these sites but done an intensive study of the outdoors. Naushad deviates in treatment, bringing an efficient drawing to his works. Jogi uses a clutch pencil for his drawings of a children's park that he does on linen sheet.

Madhu paints a makeshift raft, which is a fisherwoman's mode of transport.

Samju uses a calligraphy pen to describe a bamboo grove or boat that is moored along a jetty.

Firoz has a host of topics, which brings variety into his display. Jayesh catches the energies of a market place but his best works are the sketches that he had done of all the artists who are displaying their works at this exhibition. The exhibition is on till March 1.

SUNANDA KHANNA

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