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Moods and moments

Babu Namboodri's works explore mental spaces through a variety of themes and witty props


IN A land teeming with billions, is it possible to overlook the human presence? The mass of humanity besides thronging the streets of the city also bombards our sensibilities screaming at us from hoardings, posters and advertisements pasted on back of vehicles. In other words, it is a ubiquity that subconsciously lives within us. This human presence for an artist also sensitively translates into his expressions, which for Babu Namboodri, the artist from Kerala, proves a case in point. He is presently showcasing his works at Lalit Kala Akademi.

Namboodri in his large to small compositional works has mediated through the human form. These forms have a primitive quality of simplicity, naivity and frontality in their representation, exuding an aura of dynamic energy that breathes effortlessly in all his frames. The artist's source of reference undeniably is his contemporary milieu, and every facet offers opportunity to negotiate his creative expressions. These opportunities offer themselves in terms of civilisation, history, anthropology, or culture in general.

Marking interesting dimensions in Namboodri's works are the props that he has installed in front of many of his paintings, conflating realities of different sorts — streamers or the thermocole bridge in paintings such as 'Man Celebrating' and 'Living through the Bridge' respectively. Namboodri in going beyond the traditional frames is further enhancing the artist's vision by transcending to a lived space, credibly pushing the interaction between the viewer and the work of art to greater participation and involvement.

The conceptualisation of the themes effected by the artist unconsciously foregrounds his angst, tensions and stress.

These emotional gamuts offer the artist opportunities of cathartic release, as he invests his canvases with human forms that are strongly individuated to become personifications of them as in `Image-Suspended'. In addition to his particularised imagery the colours are strongly dissonant, resonating with the same emotional vitality. The blood reds, acid greens, flaming oranges, ocean blues make the exhibition space all the more vibrant. Enhancing all these considerations are his very large canvases. They fill entire walls in a captivating drama, making the audience compulsively explore the mental spaces projected by the artist through variety of themes and titillating witty props.

The show is on at Lalit Kala Akademi, Greams Road, till June 5.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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