Monthly Archive: November 2018

Awaken and Asleep

Awaken and Asleep

Creating work of Art is like giving birth to a child, as Kavita Nayar explains. Kavita was born in Amritsar in 1957, her schooling was in Kolkatta, Bachelors of Arts from Santiniketan, Masters in Painting from Delhi and to acquire proficiency in Printmaking she went to France in 85-86, to Luxemburg in 1990 and on Charles Wallace fellowship went to Oxford Ruskin school of Arts.

Kavita attended a painting competition when she was in 8th standard. That was the time Neel Armstrong stepped on moon. To celebrate the occasion participants of painting competition were supposed to imagine the space and draw and paint. Whoever wins the competition will get a chance to visit Russia for 13 days. She was upset that she could not win. That instigated her to take Fine arts specialization against the advice of parents and teachers. To express positive and negative feelings through art had been initiated on that day itself for Kavita. She says she should be called an artist not a print maker though she achieved fine tuning in printmaking. That is true, whether one is a singer, dancer, painter, whom so ever one may be everyone is an artist. She goes to her studio every day, works every day. Making a figure is like writing daily dairy for her. Her art works are her dairy written with figures and forms. Image is like being awaken in the sleep or living in the dream for her.

Many a people groom their thoughts when they are in the lone spaces. Artists represent their thoughts through the creative arts. When Kavita looks at her painting she does not feel that is the representation of her thoughts. She feels those figures are continuity of she herself but that is like a chain connecting her with her image. She was painting from 2006 to 2008 and only portraits of her daughter whom she lost. She finds solace in nature and thinking through nature and within the nature she forgets the sorrow of life.

Kavita is the important support and founder member of Kalasakshi trust. She does much for art through this platform to award fellowships to young artists and giving opportunities to them on various levels. She says society has given her so much and she should give back to the society. She teaches as a visiting faculty in Delhi and many national and international art institutions, conducted workshops to teach and popularize printmaking and exhibited nationally and internationally. Many of her works are in important Museums, one of her work is in Indian Prime Minister’s house. She believes in spiritualism read more about Budhhism. She lives in Delhi.

Dr.M.Balamani

[This is a broad translation of my original article published in Telugu in Sopathi Sunday magazine Navatelangana news paper publishes from Hyderabad on 18th November 2018.]

Thorns and Roses-Surekha Kumar’ Installation

Thorns and Roses

Surekha Kumar’Installation

Important facet of artists’ creativity is to express their feelings and emotions in the art forms after imagining new thoughts. One of the developments in contemporary art field is working towards that artistic expression that reaches the audiences in totality. Painting and sculpture of conventional forms of visual arts’ is a silent expression. Sometimes that becomes lesser mould for the length of the expression needed to hold the sensitivities of artists’ imaginations and deeper meanings. To create the new means is the focus of artists of this century finding new methods to express the optimum. Visual artists began to find more methods than two dimensional languages of painting and sculpture. Surekha Kumar searches for meaningful methods.

Surekha lives and works in Banglore. She completed her graduation at Ken school of Arts, Banglore in 1985 to 90 and Masters Degree from Santiniketan in 90 to 92. She exhibited nationally and internationally also had remarkable fellowships to her achievements. She practiced beyond two dimensional language of painting. She is one of those important artists to be counted in Video installations, performances and photography and combinations. Whenever it is necessary to enhance the meanings she herself becomes part of the installations. She works on the themes of ecology, feminism, gender politics, etc. subjects dear to her heart.

We human beings encounter many interactions, sometimes appreciations yet another times rejections and refusals. Whatever may be the situation, one needs to control their body for outward behaviors and expressions. We have to instantly wear masks to hide our feelings and present civilized. There is an important meaning exists for every object and subject. For example, needle head is very important for the needle. She makes the needle and thread part of her installations and performances. Needle and thread are symbolic of women’s space also tells about the traditional craft/art works of women like embroidery, etc.

One of her performances/installations ‘Spaces of Silence’ are meaningful creations. Kitchen indicates women’ space, also we should not forget the atrocities/domestic violence that happens on women in the kitchen itself. Many a women keep a secret of domestic violence that they go through. As a result guilty people move around without any guilt. She made one installation to express that meaning. She filled the floor of the kitchen with blood red rose flowers. Does she mean, there are thorns too in the rosy smiles of women?

Dr.M.Balamani

[This is a broad translation of my original article published in Telugu in Sopathi, Sunday magazine Navatelangana news papers on 4th November 2018]

Late Sri. Antyakula Paidiraju

“Perantam” by Antyakula Paidiraju

A name, Antyakula Paidiraju is one of the important milestones in the list of Telugu artists who contributed to the Modern Art concepts. He was born on 14th November 1991 at Bobbili of Srikakulam District and lived for 80 years. On 14th of November 2018 that completes 100 years and this essay is to remember his life and passion for arts.

He loved arts right from his childhood and could not continue his studies after SSLC. He joined Madras School of Arts and Crafts in 1940 and completed 6 years of study of arts in 4 years itself with distinction by 1944. It was a regular story that he participated in regular exhibitions and was appreciated by many during his college times too. Andhra Maha Sabha Madras conducted an exhibition and he received Gold Medal for his painting in 1941. After completing his studies at Madras he wanted to tour around important art institutions of India like Santiniketan and meet many artists and understand their works. He painted about a heartbreaking situation of Srikakulam drought conditions in 1944. Probably he saw Chittoprosad and Zainul Abedin’ paintings and drawings on Bengal disastrous Femine when he visited Santiniketan and Bengal. Certainly his Bengal tour had influenced his arts and thinking.

That was the time India was effectively agitating for Quit India movements. Every region every field was chipping their bit to join the movement. Artists expressed their resistance against British through their medium of arts. China was another country resisting British. Bengali artists amalgamated the Chinese Calligraphic ink methods and Indian subjects and declared their friendship with China, another enemy of British. Paidiraju was influenced by these thoughts. One of his paintings “After the Bath” is not only painted in those broad strokes of ink Paidiraju also signed vertically like Chinese style on the top of the painting. He was the student of Deviprasad Roy Choudhary when he was studying at Madras. Choudhary was a sculptor. Paidiraju too made significant sculptures. His sculptures have the language of Choudhary but paintings acquired a language of their own. It is because of the mixed influence, adaptations and thoughts of Madras school education and his Bengal tour.

British had declared their supremacy on every field and also put their hand on fine arts. They announced that the arts of India are crafts but not the arts of genius. They wanted to teach us their methods and techniques of arts and established British arts schools. First of it’s kind was Madras School of Arts and Crafts and later Calcutta and so on. To resist their policy, Rabindranath Tagore has established Santiniketan in 1920 for a ‘Gurukul’ method of Indigenous teaching.

One of the Modern principles of Humanity is individual identity. British insisted on Modernism. Indians declared that their identity is in their Indigenous Culture and lifestyles but not in the methods of imposition by British. Bengal artists expressed their life, culture and surroundings in their arts and Madras believed in their Dravida Culture to express. Paidiraju had seen both and realized that he had to express his own Telugu region’s Culture. He lived in Bobbili, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam regions and started expressing in his paintings about the living styles and Culture and traditions of that region.

On the face value one may think he is painting in the folk styles but if we observe carefully we realize that they are different. Like Mughal and Rajasthani kind of Royal court arts South India too had the court art like Vijayanagara styles. Similarly smaller courts like Bobbili too patronized arts. 18th C. Rajamahendravaram [Rajuhmundry] Ramayana paintings are the proof of that. He adapted those traditional/Classical court art styles and Telugu people’s living styles and traditions as subjects. It is something like this, if classical music is taken for the cinema songs, that music is modified for the mass aesthetic appreciation. That is what he too did. One of his paintings “Perantam” ladies get-to-gather has Vijayanagara art language and Telugu life style as a subject. This way he was supporting the Anti British movements and also that remained his signature style. The titles of his paintings confirm the same, ‘Bhagnaveean’, ‘Tilakam’[ lady putting Tilak on her forehead], ‘Naavik’, ‘Aalochan’, ‘Matrumurti’, ‘Winnowing the paddy’, etc. Once he said in a news paper interview that he is waiting for the arts that should have Telugu Culture and Indian styles. He expressed his fear that British had sowed the seeds of Modernism. “Their roots are deep now, how much we can come out of the effect of British?”

He also worked in Theatre, sang songs in cinema, wrote poetry. One of his poetry titled is ‘Akshara Silpaalu’. His expression is in visuals probably he saw letters also as ‘Silp’, sculpture. He advised that one has to seek expertise in the same what is near to their heart and other arts would help their core expression of language. He taught the same to his students and many became good art teachers. He expressed a wish that Government should take interest to establish art schools, art galleries and develop professional art and crafts.

He established an art school in Vijayanagaram in 1949 and taught many young students about art. After the education Pagallu rulers and when he started art school at Vijayanagaram, then ruler P.V.Raju had supported him.  When Andhra University established Fine Arts College, he was appointed for teaching art at that institute.  He was the Vice President of Andhra Lalitkala Akademi, established Chitrakala Parishat in 1965 and encouraged young artists. He painted more than 5000 paintings. The painting ‘Bride’ has many versions and modifications and postures around 100 paintings. Mother and child too is painted in different postures and expressions. His other paintings courtyard games of girls ‘Chemmachekka’ are beautiful paintings. Not only nationally, internationally also his paintings were exhibited in Afghanistan, Russia, Germany and many places. His works are in the collection of many important institutions and museums. He was a son of a craftsman, understood the modern concepts, supported the ‘Swadeshi Movement’, painted like our lullabies, and gained fame. Knowledge gained both the ways whether it is for British or for Indians.

Dr.M.Balamani

[This is a broad translation of my original article in Telugu published in Sopathi, Navatelangana news paper as an essay article on 11th November 2018]