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A novel dimension

`Play Light', an exhibition of posters and installations by G. Mini, at the Suryakanthi Art Gallery, was a visual interpretation of plays.


GRAPHICS, THOUGH a very advanced form of art in the West and even in the Indian advertising world, is still in its infancy in Kerala. Even with all the advances the State has made in the field of Information Technology (IT), it has a long way to go to in appreciating graphic designing as an art form.

Using software such as Photoshop and equipment such as photo scanner, G. Mini has attempted to impart a visual dimension to some of the greatest plays in history. Her exhibition of graphic posters and installations, `Play Light', is an attempt to give a completely different dimension to the commercial activity of designing posters for theatre and cinema.

The exhibition, which was on at Suryakanthi Art Gallery, was an attempt at visual interpretation of some plays that the artist has directed along with her husband. Anything that forms part of our daily life - a remote control, her son's wooden toys, an old memento, an ice-cream cup - finds a meaning that is intricately connected with the graphical representation of theatre in Mini's works.

"Everything is interconnected and forms a part of life," says Mini. A poster for Romeo and Juliet has a Fair and Lovely skin cream tube included in the frame. Could anything be more telling? The poster depicts King Lear depicts the various stages of his life and even the colours of his life. The whiteness of his beard frames the poster. This writer, absorbed as he was in a poster of Othello, the `Moor of Venice', does a sacrilegious act by knocking over an installation and causing the artist to exclaim "Desdemona dies!" Another attractive poster was `The Mask' and Mini's favourite among these are `In-Out', `The Room' and Bertolt Brechts' `The Good Woman of Schetswan'. `In-Out' was an improvisation of Jean-Paul Sartre's `The Room'. For Mini, even Octavio Paz's poem, `Sunstone', needed to be visually depicted and it came out as an appealing work.

"Here, in Kerala, nobody considers theatre as a professional art. As a consequence, designing posters for a play does not count as important," says Mini, a postgraduate in Theatre Art Design and Direction from the National School of Drama, New Delhi. "In Delhi, designing and making props is part of a professional set up and poster design is a key component while staging a play."


Max Frish's `Andora', `A Midsummer Night's Dream', `Macbeth', Maxim Gorky's `The Lower Depths', `Junapour', all form part of the exhibition. `The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow' and `Strange Pilgrims' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez also interest this young artist, who now lives in Kozhikode along with her husband, N. G. Roshan, and son.

Graduating in Economics with flying colours, Mini, whose mind was set on drama, headed for the School of Drama in Thrissur. She later enrolled at the National School of Drama.

While a majority of the posters were conceived for various plays, others were specially done for the exhibition. "This was a sudden development. I happened to be in town and wanted my friends to come and see my works. I wanted to meet them again. The exhibition was put up in a hurry and so it includes just a part of my works."

Although Mini does a lot of nib and glass painting, these were left out of the exhibition and the reason, she says, is because "This is what I am passionate about." Strangely, there was no promotional material available with the artist as she wanted the exhibition to be a low-key affair.

"I don't believe in spending money to promote myself," says Mini.

BIMAL SIVAJI

Photos: S. Mahinsha

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