World on a wall : Artist Vishnu Vikraman on reinventing Kerala mural tradition
Despite its legacy, which can be traced all the way back to 9th century, Kerala’s fresco tradition has always had a dynamic quality to it. As it strayed away from the constraints of religious themes, we witnessed several groundbreaking projects including PK Sadanandan’s massive mural work (measuring 15m x 3m) at the third edition of Kochi Biennale. Keeping with the movement, Vishnu Vikraman, an alumnus of Kaladi Sree Sankaracharya University, is hoping to carve a niche of his own within the
tradition. “This is a synthesis of the various techniques I have learned during journeys across countries. My tryst with murals stand apart both stylistically and thematically,” explains the 28-year-old, whose works are showcased at an ongoing exhibition in Kerala Museum titled Mural Art and Devotion.
Apart from the natural colour schemes associated with the form, the artist also uses 24-carat gold powder, a technique he picked from Thailand,while on a student exchange program at Burapha University.“I am intrigued by the possibilities within this realm, especially the methods like Thai lacquer painting. One of my many experiments within murals include integrating elements such as the clouds seen in Tibetan frescoes to the Kerala tradition,” explains Vishnu.While there, expect to see themes including birds such as parakeets and swans to popular ones including Gajendra Moksham portrayed within his 20 plus exhibits.
Claim to fame
When not toying with colours, this artist extraordinaire dedicates his time towards research on subjects such as age-old styles of Ajanta. Having earned his MFA from Visva Bharati, Kolkata—under the mentorship of Nandu Dulal Mukherjee—he has also mastered Indian styles such as Jaipuri and Rajasthani. With 600 plus murals to his credit till date, this youngster is one of the chosen few to earn a place in the Black House, Visva Bharati’s hall of fame, which now houses Vishnu’s Jaipuri fresco painted using casein tempera.
At Kerala Museum.
Till November 7.
—Arya P Dinesh