Monthly Archive: June 2019

Art of Bairu Raghuram

Black and white images-Colours of Life

Black and white pencil drawings are no less meaningful than painting images. Bairu Raghuram’s drawings make us to realize the same. His black and white etching prints are also equally beautiful. It is difficult to decide whether his drawings or black and white and sepia tone prints, which ones are more beautiful. He lives in Hyderabad, born in 1949, a conversation with him-

Your art works obviously informs the viewer that you are working on Telangana rural life.

I was born and brought up and has been living in Hyderabad. I know only this life style.

Life style of Hyderabad is a metro life. It is not the life what you depict.

Life of Hyderabad and surroundings were different in my childhood. It was more of a rural life. I was also travelling to Warangal, Siddipet, Karimnagar for sketching. Poverty had a similar way of life in all these places, faded walls, chipped of lime plasters. I did few thousands of sketches in those days. Those memories do visit my canvases even today.

People represented in your images are in poverty but not desperate, sharing conversations, calm and quiet, spending time with animals also. All the images have one common feature that every figure has very pale and big eyes.

Picture looks beautiful and innocent with big and pale eyes. At the same time if artist wants to say about their innocence and ignorance, one has to choose some features like conversing with cattle, sheep and cocks.  Picture should look good for me as well as for the viewers.

Your drawings look very real like images.

When I was studying in Gulbarga for Diploma our principal Mr.Andani encouraged us very much, made us to learn, hands, feet and figure drawings from medical anatomy book. I practiced regularly even after the studies. When I wanted to exhibit my art works in Maxmuller Bhavan of Hyderabad, I was asked to bring a recommendation letter from a well known and senior artist and kept me out. I decided to become a good artist on my own and practiced a lot. I started observing many masters works. I was inspired by the works of Albert Durer, print maker and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Was it difficult for you to become a part of the Hyderabad art scenario to begin with?

It is very difficult to stand as an artist independently here. It is always observed, which artist belongs to which senior artists’ group? After experiencing all these issues, I wanted to travel on my own path. Mr. Chandrasekhar, a senior artist was working in Lalitkala Akademy in Hyderabad. He liked my print images and encouraged me a lot. He gave me a chance in all India print making workshops and art camps.

When did you start working in printmaking medium?

I studied graduation in Nizam’s college. I did not know much about Fine Arts courses. I was very happy when teachers used to appreciate me in my school days for my drawings and paintings. I received a second prize in inter school drawing competition when I was in 9th standard. I was more than happy to receive my prize from the hands of District collector. My parents were unhappy because I was not good at studies. Later I completed my lower and higher examinations in Drawing and studied diploma in Gulbarga Fine Arts School.

I started working in censes department as an artist. I have been practicing my art independent of my job. Lalitkala academy started Graphic studios in 1982 in Hyderabad. I became a member in those studios. I had a difficulty to begin with but later not only practiced the technique, I realized printmaking suits my way of expression.

Do you find any difference in drawing and making print images? Both of your images look similar.

It is difficult to bring so many sensitive lines in print making as it is in drawing. Print making process is elaborate. But whether it is print or drawing, I keep space in my focus, what element and figure should be in the front, back or at the side. I take all the care to think and compose.

Congratulations for all your efforts.

I wanted to gain name by doing my work sincerely. I thought my work is the answer for everyone. I was invited for a residency at Japan and participated in a group show also there in 2017, similarly participated in a group show at London in 2015, as well in America and Bangladesh. I participated in Bhopal Biennale in 1995. Lalitkala Akademy published a book on print making since 1850 in India. My work is part of that book. I received a national award in 1997 and a gold medal of Hyderabad Art society in 96. I was awarded ‘Kalaratna’ a ‘Pratibha Puraskkaram’ of Telugu University.

My grandfather worked in Nizam’s Police department. My father worked as a molder in Railways. I used to feel happy seeing him molding 3 dimensional and fine moulds. I am very happy standing as an artist on this same land of Hyderabad. 

Bairu Raghuram was interviewed by Dr.M.Balamani.

[This article in Telugu is published in ‘Sopathi, Navatelangana’ on 23rd June 2019.]

Art of D.Anantiah

———-Birds and Animals are Conversing with Us——-

D.Anantiah used to think art is for writing sign boards, at the time when he developed interest in drawing and painting. Later he learnt about the world of art that is different from the sign boards. He explored further for learning that art. He achieved to the level of exhibiting his art at national and international exhibitions. He is a painter and a print maker, lives in Hyderabad. A conversation with him-

How do you view yourself, as a painter or a printmaker?

I do work on both the mediums, painting as well as on printmaking. But I like to work more on Zinc plate etching and printing images.

Your etching prints are very beautiful. They look like miniature paintings.

These are not miniature style paintings. I incorporate more details on the small sized Zinc plates. In the process I have to draw small drawings and fine lines for the totality of an image. Due to my financial condition I preferred to take small plates, so that I can work on more number of plates.  

Your landscape images look as if you are composing from a top angle.

Yes. It is true. My childhood was spent in Vikarabad. I used to go for trekking frequently on Anantagiri hills along with my friends. I used to sketch images sitting on those hills. If you observe carefully you will not find lower half of the trees in my drawings. I draw that view what I get while climbing up and down the hills. Those are top view drawings.

Do you still copy images from those earlier days sketch books for the compositions?

Not really. Most of the images are from my memories of those days. I always enjoyed making drawings. I used to draw on the village walls also. Our town used to have Sunday Bazaar. I remember people moving around in the market. Most of the human figures and details what I draw today are from those memories. I like to draw birds and animals more. I feel the composition is complete when I add the birds and animals to the paintings composed on human figures also.

What is the conversation between a bird and a goat in this composition?

I used to take cows and buffaloes for grazing in the open fields. Shepherds were also coming there. We were all spending time together, eating tamarind or berry fruits from those lands. We were addressing each other as cousins and relatives. We never find the class and caste discrimination. Animals and birds also coexist in the nature. Birds sit on the animals and they walk together. There is no discrimination in their habitat. I composed this composition of bird and animal conversation, with that same understanding. Birds keep conversing with women in my other compositions. I feel birds are saying ‘women do not have as much freedom as they have. They cannot fly out like them.’

Most of your compositions have moss green colours or a bit of yellow is mixed in that. Is that to represent those colours of moss grown hills?  

No idea. May be moss colours of those trekking days must have been settled in my mind. I use mostly 3 colours, yellow, red and blue. I use only 3 rollers for spreading colour in print making, soft, hard and medium.

What did you learn first, panting or print making?

I used to think sign boards’ writing is art. My father used to work as one of the Gang-men who filled the gaps on the roads. We had a little agricultural land but we were relying on his earnings only. He had a dream that his children should get the education and become a supervisor like his boss. That was the intense Telangana agitation time in 1969. Colleges and schools were closed. I used to participate in the agitation, and practiced drawing and painting in the leisure times. In a way that agitation directed my way towards art. I used to draw the portraits of martyrs of agitation. I used to draw cinema posters.

I completed Intermediate College and went to Hyderabad for further studies thinking I can write posters and earn money simultaneously. I joined B.Sc in a science college. My college was right opposite to JNTU Fine Arts College. I used to observe students were going to the college carrying art materials.

As I wanted to learn writing banners, I went to a big company in the old city. But I could not focus to sit with them to write sign boards. I used to go and visit art exhibitions in JNTU Fine Arts College. I chanced upon to meet Dongre sir there. I learnt more information about art conversing with him. I went to learn drawing and painting with him at Vivekavardhani College in the evenings. I studied for Diploma and got the certificate from Gulbarga College of Fine Arts. Lailtkala Akademy started print making studio in Hyderabad in 1982. I joined those studios and started working on print making. I started “Forest series” of landscapes in those early days of 82. Later studios are shifted to Telugu University, I am still a member there working with print making studios.

Your art works are very pleasant images. They are like stories narrated.

I try to portray conversations between animals, birds, human beings and nature. I enjoy doing art whatever I like. I do not think about whether this composition is saleable or commercially viable.

Were you employed anywhere?

I worked as a primary school head master, taught arts and science in a govt. school. I have been working only on my art for the last 5,6 years after retirement.   

[D.Anantiah was interviewed by Dr.M.Balamani. This interview article was originally published in Telugu in Sopathi Sunday Magazine, Navatelangana news papers on 3rd June 2019]