Setting a new stage for traditional Indian art

Lili | September 27, 2019 | 0 | Traditional

Aparna Banerjee is more than an artist. For she not just paints and teaches others to bring out the artist in them but has also taken it upon herself to bring back the lost glory of indigenous Indian art. Traditional Indian art has suffered a lot at the hands of both, the artists as well as art lovers, she says.

“Most of the artists these days are working on modern art. Even those who were involved in traditional form of drawing and painting are slowly moving away from it because society these days is completely oblivious to the wealth of traditional art our country features,” she says.

And this is the reason Banerjee is showcasing an exhibition of intricate mural art from Kerala and the Battali art of furniture carving from West Bengal at her studio which also serves as a gallery and teaching centre.

Located in Gurugram, Banerjee calls the venue, The Art Lounge Nirvana. The show, titled Colours of Our Soil, began on September 6 and she plans to keep it going till post-Diwali. “There is a lot of buying during the festive season.

And I am hoping people will come for these pieces too,” she says. “It is time indigenous art from India gets its due credit,” says Banerjee.

The show has works of three celebrated mural artists from Kerala VA Abhilash, Sujatha Anil Kumar and Alex Varghese, who have produced these murals on canvases using acrylic colours.

Hailing from Kodussery, Abhilash is known for murals in religious shrines of Angamaly (Kochi) viz the famous pilgrim centre of Malayattoor St Thomas Church, Vaikkarakavu Bhadrakali Temple and Mahadev Temple.

Trichur-based Varghese is credited with largest mural painting on church ceiling, his painting of St Thomas Church in Malayattoor.

He has also created large murals of Lord Ganesha, Lord Krishna with gopikas, Goddess Saraswathi and Lord Ayappan among others. (check this overall from original, did you mean this?) Sujatha, who belongs to a small village near Kalady, is known for murals on garments and canvas.

Along with Abhilash, she runs an organisation, Vanamali Murals, that works for promotion of traditional mural arts.

“As I travel around I see our traditional artists vying for space, struggling to get a market despite of their high value in terms of quality and aesthetic sensibility. The arts and artists suffer immensely in the fast moving world and no one cares much about some remote art from another part of the country,” she says, adding,

“Overwhelmed by the Western art, people are forgetting their own roots. Even those who can afford to buy the expensive pieces have failed to look at the treasure we have. Abroad people are so proud of their own art but this is not the case in our country.” Banerjee’s affection for Indian art is not misplaced.

A self taught artist, she has travelled the world-over for her shows, and has witnessed first-hand the value Europe and West accord to the Indian art as well as the way they promote their own art.

“But here in our country, people are forgetting our traditional arts,” she rues.

“This is one of the reasons why I set up The Art Lounge. I want the modern society to look at what we possess, as also understand, admire and encourage the artists of our land who do such splendid and intricate work but have no viewership because they are working in far-flung areas, and do not have proper exposure,” she says.

“Already there are a few artists who indulge in indigenous arts. If not promoted, even they will move away and these art will then become extinct,” she adds.


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