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When Kuttanad turned a haven of art



CONNOISSEURS' DELIGHT: The painting camp organised by the Lalithakala Akademi at Champakkulam. Photo: Johney Thomas

Connoisseurs and students of art in Alappuzha, especially Kuttanad, had enough to feast their eyes on for five days up to Thursday. The Kerala Lalithakala Akademi held a south-zone painting camp at a resort in Champakkulam during these days, giving them a valuable opportunity to interact with leading artists. And for the painters, the relatively unpolluted and green Kuttanad offered enough inspiration.

Ten artists in the State gave expression to their imagination on canvas. Among them was camp director C.N. Karunakaran. K.C. Chitrabhanu, painter and professor of Fine Arts College, Thiruvananthapuram, was the camp convener.

The camp was held in Champakkulam to give an opportunity to painters and art lovers in rural areas to gain an understanding of the technique and mediums used by noted artists, Mr. Chitrabhanu said.

The camp was the first to be held by the akademi in Kuttanad. On the works churned out at the camp, Mr. Chitrabhanu said the artists employed a variety of techniques. Most of the works were acrylics and watercolours. The paintings by Austin Konchira were abstracts, while Shijo Jacob's works reflected insecurities of life. Varghese Punalur was inspired by Chandalabhikshuki of Kumaranasan.

Mr. Karunakaran said his work portraying the merger of a tree and a human being with a human-faced lion resting under it depicted the relation between vegetation and people.

"The same divinity is in both, and there is an invisible thread that unites them," he said.

The idea that people were the watchmen of vegetation had also been incorporated in the picture.

The picture was a reaction to overexploitation of nature, he added.

The artist Jayalal portrayed the life of Kuttanad by drawing four pictures of objects used by the people in the region daily: a country boat, an oar, a fish and a lamp. Mr. Jayalal said they should be viewed as a whole. Though he did not find inspiration in the beginning of the camp, a journey through the villages of Kuttanad made him draw.

On the camp, Mahesh, a painting student from S.S. School of Arts, Alappuzha, said he had learned several things from the participants.

Lakshmi, another student, said that at first she was apprehensive of approaching the artists, but an interaction with them allayed her fears and she had benefited from it.

A. Harikumar

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