Art of South India
SOUTH INDIA'S traditional paintings, which added lustre to both temple precincts and palaces in the heyday of their royal patronage, are witnessing a sustained and quiet renaissance today.
There has been a revival of Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur and Karnataka's Mysore schools of art as well as Andhra's Kalamkari work in recent years, while Kerala's murals are now being transposed on canvas and paper, bringing to life yet another heritage temple art.
While keeping to traditional painting styles and formats, today's artists bring new themes and contemporary sensibilities to the art forms, investing them with a fresh perspective.
An exhibition of Thanjavur, Mysore paintings and kalamkari, mural art is being organised by RAASI Foundation, titled `Pristine Expressions of Ancient Art.'
It reflects the brilliant colours, rich mythology and techniques from which art forms draw their inspiration as they evolve into more contemporary format, look and language.
Fine lines and subtle differences in the techniques of Thanjavur and Mysore schools are brought out in a series of traditional frames celebrating Baby Krishna and Radha-Krishna themes, Ramarpattabishekam, Shiva-Parvati themes and representation of Ganesh Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
The Thanjavur ones are gem-encrusted, embellished with gold foil and with a fine sense of faithful reproduction.
Among the compelling pieces are a Radhakrishna done in the North India Calender art style, executed with Thanjavur technique, Gajalakshmi in hues of rich red, green and blue with intricate gold relief work and a `Rishabh Vahanam' portraying Lord Shiva seated on Rishabh with Parvati.
The delicately executed Mysore paintings have mythological themes. The absence of gold foil and gems is made up by superb detailing in the folds and textures of clothing, in the exquisitely delineated flowers in garlands and even in facial expressions. The colours are rich too. The kalamkari pieces reflect excellence in technique, narrative form and use of colours. The kalamkari panels and pieces display a fine blend of harmony and movement.
Kerala's mural or `Suvar art,' originally done on treated temple walls and now on paper, has a distinct style and imagery.
The background is made to look like a treated wall and the boldly executed mythological figures such as Krishna, Mahabali and so on are faintly reminiscent of the faces of the Kathakali dancers.
The themes are drawn from the rich storehouse of Hindu Mythology but with local flavour.
The exhibition opens on December 25 at DBS Art Galleria, 31-A, Cathedral Garden Road, Nungambakkam.
A documentary film, "Traditional Indian Art Forms: Creating Value" will be screened at 10.30 a.m. on the same day.
The exhibits will be on view till December 26.
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