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Veterans' expressions

Two art exhibitions on at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery, Sathyapal's and Kaladharan's are certainly worth a dekko


IN A literate crucible the expressions on canvas were macabre - `Integration' of deaths in the nation by the means of the railway track: the tool that snuffs out the female form so effectively and effortlessly. When T.A.Sathyapal worked in Kerala his mind often wept on the canvas- the most literate state had lost its culture somewhere along the way in its search for a so called hundred percent education. The educated mind degraded women and the environment shamelessly and guiltlessly. But a six month stay in the tribal heartland of Bastar, Chattisgarh - one of the most illiterate of places in India and Sathyapal' s art reflected the joyous expressions of a liberated mind from the narrow confines of the `cultured society'.

Bastar life

'The Spirit of Bastar' exhibited at the Durbar Hall Art Centre from April 4 to 9 as part of the World Mayor's Conference celebrated the way of living of the Maria, Murias, Batras, Durvas and Gond tribals of Bastar. "The mystery of primeval culture passed incorruptibly down the ages is of a higher order than our progressive, modern culture," said Sathyapal. In his `Awakening Hills' the exultant mountains leap and kiss the skies to the rhythmic dance of the Maria tribe, and the ancestors evidently living in memories, tower over the landscape.

"The tribals live in perfect harmony with nature. They consider themselves as an extension of nature and see the trees, the streams and the earth as brothers and sisters. Their respect for nature is religious." In muted tones the artist has amalgamated their propinquity to nature in the `Ghotul' paintings. For the young tribals, sex is not in the private realm but in public space. Ghotul is a community hall where the young tribal men and women imbibe liquor and have uninhibited free coition.


In the `Ghotul' paintings the phallic symbols abound- serpents twine around the Mohwa trees while the tribals revel in the spirit of the Mohwa liquor. The `Rhythm of the Wild' gives unrestrained effect to the dance of the tribals, one of Sathyapal's best works.

Kaladharan's works

`Waiting For the Roof' by T.Kaladharan was also part of World's Mayors Conferenc.. Said he, "I am just completing the roof on my house but I don't consider this as only a personal roof but in the larger sphere it will embrace the culture and art of Kochi and that is the reason why I have titled this exhibition thus."

Kaladharan's latest series has been the exploration of facial art. "It may appear to be only makeup to many but I perceive it as an art form and I have begun a journey trying to comprehend the mysteries of this art." It evolves and changes from individual to individual and with the change in facial expressions it opens up a world of possibilities in vivid tones. Kaladharan's use of bright colours is mesmerising. In his 2003 series in acrylic, the layers of colours are not closed completely - one can see the infinitude of the patterns all telling a different narrative. The unfinished strokes, some geometric, are superimposed by flowing human forms. Said Kaladharan, "It is an accidental result. It is not what is intended but stopped at a point to give the desired result." His `Orthic' paintings i.e. his work on glass, is an arduous achievement wherein he has worked laterally and put his ideas in reverse to get the right effect on glass. He has used different mediums to capture another art form creating art from art.

MINU ITTYIPE

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