Vadehra Art Gallery presents A Ramachandran. A Retrospective: Drawings, sketches & studies 1958 – 2014. Ekalinji Fantasy: Paintings & sculptures 2009 – 2014 13 November 2014
Open to Public: 13 – 25 November, 2014
Venue: Lalit Kala Akademi, Rabindra Bhawan, 35 Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi
Curator: Ranesh Ray
November 4, 2014: Vadehra Art Gallery and Lalit Kala Akademi present an exhibition of major Indian artist A Ramachandran in two parts: A Retrospective: Drawings, sketches and studies 1958 – 2014 and Ekalinji Fantasy: Paintings and sculptures 2009 – 2014.
Born in Kerala 1935, Ramachandran studied art in Santiniketan where the cultural and intellectual milieu of Santiniketan drew him closer to the art traditions of India and other civilizations and began his lifelong research on mural paintings of Keralan temples.
Ranesh Ray, Exhibition Curator comments; “The deep-rooted influences of Kerala combine with a grounding and assimilation of values of Santiniketan in Ramachandran. He embodies the values that formed the foundation for education, in Santiniketan, imbibed from his teacher Ramkinkar Baij and Nandalal Bose. Literature, nature, social and political concerns and people have shaped his views. These are reflected in dynamic expressions of changing perceptions through the decades. The challenge has been to communicate these through an exhibition.”
The Retrospective is structured chronologically and thematically and moves from 1958 to the present and Ekalinji Fantasy presents a body of his recent works. A prolific artist, the selection of nearly 1200 drawings, sketches and studies have been taken from a pool of 5000 works, a telling indicator of the extraordinary scale of Ramachandran’s output.
Ramachandran’s drawings span 56 years and form invaluable records of his observations that provide the foundations for his paintings and sculptures. It is perhaps the first time that such an extensive retrospective of drawings and studies of a leading artist have been on show in New Delhi.
The exhibition traces the artist’s journey of creative expression based on observations and influences from life experiences, literature and the essences of developing ideologies. They trace his journey from childhood in Attingal, Kerala (1958) through his student days in Santiniketan, West Bengal (1958 – 1964) and finally to Delhi (1964 to the present).
His mediums for drawing are simple: ink, pencil and watercolour on paper, often in a variety of combinations. Accompanying the drawings are brief texts by Ramachandran taken from his forthcoming book A Ramachandran: Life and Art in Lines, edited by R. Siva Kumar which will be launched at the start of the exhibition.
Ramachandran’s studies on human suffering, his reflections on social and political environments, often satirical, and his interpretations of literary works and mythology represent some of the facets explored in the exhibition. His transformation from a socio-political figurative painter to an artist of human life integrated with nature started in the vicinity of Ekalinji, a temple town close to Udaipur in Rajasthan from where he has derived great inspiration. It is from here that he becomes a “magical realist” which he integrates into his art, expressed through metal sculptures and large oil paintings.
A Ramachandran comments: “The large paintings and sculptures are centred around a small temple town Ekalinji, where the ancient ruined temples surrounded by Bhil villages have become a focal point for my work. The changing seasons, festivals and the lives of the tribals have become a recurring motif to recreate a magical realism from a study of this environment.”
Born in the Kerala in 1935, Ramachandran received a Master’s degree in Malayalam literature from Kerala University in 1957. He joined Kala Bhavana at Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan to study art under masters like Ramkinkar Baij and Benodebehari Mukherjee. The cultural and intellectual milieu of Santiniketan drew him closer to the art traditions of India and other eastern civilizations and began his lifelong research on mural paintings of Kerala temples. He joined Jamia Millia University, New Delhi as a lecturer in art education in 1965 and continued to work here for 28 years developing it into a full- fledged faculty of fine art. He retired as a Professor in 1992 to devote himself full time to his creative pursuits. His first solo exhibition was at Kumar Gallery, New Delhi in 1966. Since then, he has held more than fifteen large solo exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, water-colors, graphics and drawings in major Indian cities. These include three retrospective exhibitions in 1978 (New Delhi), 1983 (Mumbai) and 2003 (New Delhi).
Major Awards 2005 Padma Bhushan, Government of India 2001 Manaviyam Award, Manaviyam Cultural Mission, Government of Kerala 2000 Gagan – Abani Puraskar, Viswa Bharati University 1978 Noma Award for Children’s Picture Book Illustration from Japan