Madras through minimalism and memories

In his third year of paying tributes to the city he calls home, visual artist Rajesh Seshadri presents the development of Chennai in various realms

author_img Diya Maria George Published :  23rd August 2022 08:50 PM   |   Published :   |  23rd August 2022 08:50 PM
visual artist Rajesh Seshadri presents the development of Chennai in various realms

Visual artist Rajesh Seshadri presents the development of Chennai in various realms

Madras has been eulogised in many a song, poem, book and play. For Rajesh Seshadri, a self-taught visual artist and engineer who specialises in minimalist art, Madras is a series of images stuck in his head since childhood. 

From nostalgic elements to the events of the present day, his forever home, Chennai, has been his muse since he began his tryst with drawing. This is also why like any Chennaiite he brims with pride during the Madras Day celebrations. For the past three years, it has been his tradition to contribute via art to the commemorate this special day. This year, he has made a video series on what the city means to him. 

Collecting nostalgia

The collection titled Madras Series is a collage of visual hand drawings on iPad with a stamp and ticket background along with the Suvar theme background music from the movie Madras. Explaining his work, Rajesh shares, “My initial idea was to show the transformation of Madras to Chennai through drawings. Taking inspiration from transportation, monuments, sports, food and people, I combined several aspects that made Chennai the city it is. Though a few of the drawings in the series were created previously for other works, everything was re-visited and given a vintage feel for standing as the symbols of the past. For the title Madras, I replaced R with a Tamil scripture; this was inspired from the T-shirts of Fully Filmy.” 

The series begins with the development of the city over the years portrayed through trams, suburban railway, metro trains, rickshaws and share-autos. Following that, it shows Chennai Central, Elliot’s beach, Chepauk Stadium, Lighthouse, Anna Nagar Tower Park which according to Rajesh are few of the must-visit places of the city that reflects the spirit of both Madras and Chennai. He also introduces Ramajayam, fondly called ‘Moor’ thatha at Thiruvanmiyur beach who sells luscious buttermilk from 6 pm to midnight and Ramesh from ‘jannal kadai’ bajji shop, Mylapore, who passed away two years ago. He hopes to expand the series over time, collecting more memories and curating them into colourful creations. 

Tributes to the hometown

This artist’s past works as a tribute to Madras Day are also noteworthy. Last year it was a minimalist title card dedicated to the 382nd birthday of the city and the year before that, the poster amalgamating ‘paal abhishekam’ (anointing posters with milk), Old Chennai Central, double decker bus and Dhoni for Chennai Super Kings, created the buzz.  

He also educates his audience on the history behind a place or picture to make them know more about Chennai. “My Instagram page is in a way dedicated to the people who are new to Chennai. They can learn about the important landmarks, the history behind it, small food shops and interesting getaways through a Chennaiite’s eyes. Whatever I paint on the canvas is not only my personal memories but also the memories of people dear to me. I hope I am reflecting the collective feeling of all ‘Chennaivasis,”  he signs off.

Visit his Instagram page: @rajesh.seshadri

Learn about Chennai

Rajesh’s Instagram page  is a space to educate his followers on the history behind a place or picture of the city to help them know more about Chennai.