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Bullish on tribal life


A TRYST with tribal life and its activities is what awaits an art aficionado at the Wallframes Art Gallery. Around 30 works of M. Ravichandran, head of the Lalitkala Academy Art Gallery, Udhagamandalam, are on show in the exhibition titled Untamed Bulls. This is his first exhibition in the State.

His art is the outcome of a closely observed lifestyle of the tribal communities of Orissa and the Nilgiris. Whether it is the Oriya Kond woman weaving a tapestry of imaginative splendour gleaned from images of their daily activities or the chenda drummers beating away the blues, or even the poised Kurumba bowman, the spotlight is always focused on the cultural conduct of their activities. They, like the resilient, lofty raised heads of the untamed bulls in his other works provide an apt metaphor for the untamed spirit of man that is as yet pristinely preserved in the untouched lives of these ethnic communities.

Deft, bold stokes aided by the rich contrasting earthy hues of brown, red, orange and olive green lend his paintings a joyous overtone which just goes to emphasise the dynamic vivacity that he encounters and derives from interacting with such culturally rich folk. His oil on canvases also depict age old traditions like in the painting titled `Foot and Grace' where the aged chieftain raises his foot rather than hand to offer blessings to the one seeking it. Another striking work is titled `Color and Courage.' Worked up in fluid red and black, depicts the sinuous actions performed in a dance drama. Other works are pen and crayon sketches of his favourite bulls and cattle in their swaying exalted motions. The exhibition is open till November 27.

RAKHEE MOHAN

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