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Countryside colours

RANEE KUMAR

Balaiah's works are so diligently done that they resemble animation.



BAPU-LIKE IMAGES Balaiah's batik paintings beckon you.

His canvas mirrors the `short and simple annals of the rustics.' Essentially native, the humans and animals that make his subject are from the unyielding soil of Telangana, illiterate, innocent, full of

rustic gaiety. The vibrant, vivid colours; looming large eyes full of life are testimonials of optimism, contentment and bliss. The ICCR art gallery where Y. Balaiah (more familiar as Batik Balaiah) has put up his show, is pulsating with life - a rural existence that is a far cry to the city dweller.

It looks as if the men and women adorning the walls of the gallery are beckoning the viewer to look deep into their eyes and catch a glimpse of their varied emotions.

The most expressive picture serialised as `No.29' is that of a woman with a deep blue hued face whose lovely eyes are contemplating; we would want to know what if she was really in flesh and blood. The turbaned husband beside her seems to have understood what is going on in her mind, as his eyes seem to convey. The dark hue (not to depict dark complexion of rural folk exposed to harsh sun as in some pictures) in this case emphasizes the age group of the couple. They are young. There are any number of couples like the one holding his spouse's hand gently, the duo at work and so on.

Only women

The "only women" theme all set close to each other like the well-dressed village women (14) obviously belonging to the landed gentry going by the ornaments; the three women with artistic hairdo in animated conversation on the verge of leaving post perantam (festive gathering) - one of them is ready with a kumkum amid her fingers and the box in hand (12), two women-one older and the other younger-brown for the old and deep blue for the young, yellow faced women depicting the turmeric smeared village folk, bullock carts, herds of goat and cattle in the background, the dark hued young girl carrying Batukamma (flower adorned rustic deity) - every detail in each painting are so diligently worked out that are one-stop short of animation.

Folksy charm

Though there are slight slips in the Telangana rural costume in some paintings, like the well-worn pallavs enroute workplace, pictures like No.30 are even more closer to home. Performing folk-arts like Burrakatha and Kolatam (10&11) have also found a place in Balaiah's detail.

Routing village household work in progress is encased in picture NO 7 where sharing of work form part of the daily chores in life. While these pictures are worked out in acrylic, the artiste has also put up his first love-Batik some of which are striking like the two turbaned Jangara devara's facing us for alms.

The snake charmer, the two different drummers (44&45) and other mythological figures like Ganeshas (galore), Yashoda tying up little Krsna to the mortar are intricately worked out with the Batik motifs in clear cut, sharp, suggestive strokes.

If one can find traces of Bapu-like images (eyes) well, they are not definitely as far-fetched as that. While Bapu's are creativity larger than life, Balaiah's is creativity within life.

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