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Surrealistic images

Priya Manoj works in different media to express herself on canvas



Magical realism

MANY VISITORS to the museum auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram were caught in the visual aesthetics of Priya Manoj's exhibition of paintings called `The Trap.' It was her second solo painting exhibition in the city.

There was a brooding quality in most of the paintings. Priya has used graphics and a variety of matter such as beads and coconut fibre to embellish her canvas. The painting that depicted three brooding nuns had an enigmatic quality about it.

Recurring image

Then there was the leitmotif of Blake's `lamb' image. "At first I was also curious about the recurrence of this image in most of my paintings. But later I found out that, astrologically, lamb is the animal linked with my birth star. Perhaps that could be the reason behind this," says Priya. Then there were the `rat-in-a-trap' images, which were guaranteed to tease the viewers. Most of them were perplexed as they could not make out whether the rat was inside or outside the cage.

A series of murals depicting gods in different moods also attracted attention. The theme of the exhibition was the tsunami. The series of paintings dealt with the anguish of the victims and its many dimensions. Helpless hands thrown towards heaven talked voluminously about the plight of the victims.

The section of post-tsunami paintings depicted the ongoing trauma of the survivors, many of whom are yet to come to grips with the tragedy.

Artist's evolution

One could see the evolution of an artist in the paintings. A painting on Palayam stood out for its attention to detail. There were works from her days at the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram. A second rank holder from the college, Priya was awarded a scholarship by the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi in 2000. She is now working as a guest lecturer in the Department of Continuing Education, Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram.

MANU REMAKANT
Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar

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