———-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]