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Heritage hues

Ramdas Tadka's paintings are inspired by traditional and tribal cultures and radiate the warmth of real life experiences


WARPS AND wefts of colour engage harmoniously to create painted tapestries of rural India, its people, their lives and their personal spaces, and these paintings find place on the walls of Apparao Galleries for just 10 days. The artist, Ramdas Tadka, a native of Pochampally in Andhra Pradesh, remains true to his roots in attempting to recreate the fabric of the nation, its rustic essence, using the metaphor of woven cloth.

Consciously choosing art as his profession, both as an artist and as an art teacher at Nagpur Art College, he does not completely turn his back on the ancestral profession of weaving that his relatives still practise. An alumnus of the JJ School of Art, Mumbai, he dabbled in sales-related jobs to ease monetary restraints but never totally abandoned art. It is the villagers he interacted with while retailing insurance and savings policies that soon populated his canvases.

Drawing from the traditional and the tribal, the images are layered to appear as existing on multiple surfaces, providing numerous spatial interpretations. The simple layering of imagery led to the introduction of small horizontal lines across the picture plane, an increase in the size of his works, and finally to the incorporation of verticals, which create interlaced lines that tie the pictorial elements together. These interlaced threads of paint do not merely provide textural complexity but speak eloquently of his heritage and the complexity of his person. What began as a spontaneous experiment has now become part of him, his technique.


Using this technique Ramdas tries to portray conventional aspects of Indian culture that may be recognised as informative, sometimes unappreciated for its intrinsic qualities of colour, line or language. He incubates their visual forms and explores them trying to find meanings and symbolic relationships, as in his depiction of the tribal dwellings in Madhya Pradesh where the tools of one's trade are stencilled with lime plaster on the walls.

What strikes the viewer is the authenticity of his work, the warmth that can only be extracted from real life, real experiences. In his own words, "I paint what I see, simply the world around me." Adding to that validity is his confidence with figures and forms developed further by the three dimensional effect created by the efficient network of lines. The exhibition of paintings is on at Apparao Galleries, 7, Wallace Gardens, Third Street, Nungambakkam till June 18.

SWAPNA SATHISH

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