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T. VAIKUNTAM


Thota Vaikuntam studied at the College of Fine Arts in Hyderabad and at the MS University in Baroda. His artistic career, stretched over more than thirty years, has yielded him many rewards and in the process he has developed a style entirely his own.

When you think of any current work of his, you know there will be vibrant primary colours. In his now highly stylized figures, male or female, yellows and oranges and reds abound - the ochre in the caste marks, the upraised hands almost in a dance-mode in red, the dark, glowing, dusky skin of his Andhra figures set alight with vivid earthy hues. But look also at the flowing lines in the robes that dress his figures. See for yourself the intricate work in the jewellery on the arms and neck and in the nose of his women.

From all these details there emerges in the whole, his love for his particular genre. There is no delicate beauty in his figures, no pretence at 'modernity' or 'gentility'. He has picked his archetypal figures straight from the generations of workers of the soil and placed them against a flat background. They are solid and earthy, his women vibrant and voluptuous, his men showing the ravages of hard labour and cruel condition. Yet in all of them there is a stillness emerging from their own recognition that they do not have to be someone else.

JAYASRI BURMAN
Jayasri Burman, born in 1960, studied at Kala Bhawan, Santiniketan and at the College of Visual Art, Kolkata.

Her art, deep seated within herself, the imagery a vision of her own fantasy bound imagination, linked with mythological creation that Jayasri has developed and refined as her own inimitable style.

This exhibition offers her richly embroidered and delicately finished figures set in mystical gardens with birds and flower - a tropical paradise. But holding center stage are the women/ goddesses/ apsaras, actually a hybrid of all three. The eyes are bright and lustrous but also too deep to fathom. They face the viewer full on, seemingly calm and still, but also alive and vibrant with a power generated both by Jayasri's brush and their own personal spirit. See how they overshadow and even sideline the equally carefully drawn male - is there a statement being made of the power of the Mother Goddess?
Look away from the central figure and see the lovingly prepared surrounds. Plants, birds, flowers and symbols of godlike figures abound. And around this entire ensemble is an edging, delicately wrought, framing the entire picture.

However, to come to grips with Jayasri's work, one must look beyond the initial visual impact. See a frieze depicting life, full of metaphors, hinting at a past already delineated and a future yet to come but settled in its inevitability.

BADRI NARAYAN
Badri Narayan, born in 1929 in Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, is a self taught artist. His work, narrative in style, is highlighted by a sense of wonderment. This wonderment is the bedrock on which he builds and through which he is able to sustain the simplicity of his style and the clarity of his work.

His involvement with both Hinduism and Buddhism is also an intrinsic part, not only of the man but also of the artist. His frequent preoccupation with the artist as an explorer attests to this. See his works of the wise man, the monk or the wandering mendicant. The motifs of the elephant - strong but gentle - contrast it with others symbolic of a casting away, of a drifting - a separation from the world.

In this show we see still life as also the Nayak and Nayika - the actor and the actress. Notice if you will, the sparcity of detail, but feel as you must, a mysticism in what should be an ordinary subject. There is an ephemeral quality that users of words will find hard to explain. But in that, and in the transience that comes to mind, we feel the maturity of an artist sure of his own self amidst the searching questions of his mind.

NAYANAA KANODIA
Nayanaa Kanodia is a self-taught artist whose only apprenticeship was a year with Anjolie Ela Menon. This is what her one time mentor said…'her work typifies the best characteristics of the genre (l'art naïf) - the art of whimsy, the flat bright polished surface and the extraordinary plethora of intricately worked detail…'

In this exhibition all these traits are clearly to be seen. Her fine use of a minitiarist style, melded with a depiction of day-to-day life, its functions, its bazaars, its moments of leisure. Her works, largely figurative, are strong. They are drawn with a fine eye for detail so clearly seen in the borders and edges and coloured in bold, simple, unsubtle hues. But all of them are fresh, optimistic, cheerful. They make us smile and touch that childlike quality that too often is buried in our adult, complicated attitude towards our lives and ourselves.

SHUVAPRASANNA
Shuvaprasanna graduated from the Indian College of Art, Calcutta in 1969. That puts him contemporary to the revolutionary changes, political or social, that were part and parcel of Bengal in the sixties and seventies. How they affected the artist and their impact can be most clearly seen in the more introspective works of this many faceted artist.

'Madhura,' a series from which works are to be seen here, depicts the youthful fun loving, adorable Krishna of Vrindavan. Krishna and Radha who epitomize this adoration are the centre pieces. Notice the luminescence of Krishna's colouring, the tilt of the head of the flute player, the half-shut eyes looking into the distance. Juxtapose this with Radha, her eyes also half shut but in a lover's ecstasy weaving herself around her most dearly beloved.

Contrast this sensuality with that of his works of still life. There is a tactile feel to them. The flowers, sinuous, almost clutching, waiting to curl themselves around limbs, yet in themselves, fragile, withdrawn, shy. See the background, the delicacy of the shading, the matt highlighting the glowing colours of the central pieces.

Shuivaprasanna, a consummate artist, catches moods, emotions and weaves his own magical touch into them.