Sukesan Kanka’s artwork attempts to bridge the gap between realism and fantasy
Like most artists, Sukesan Kanka hopes his paintings will live on well after his time. Yet this Thrissur-based Lalit Kala State Academy Award-winner isn’t obsessed with the longevity of his art, but rather the wide array of subjects depicted in them. This is why he spent the last four years of his life in Delhi—whilst doubling up as an interior designer and art teacher—working on over 23 oil paintings with deeply-rooted stories.
On a closer inspection, it’s apparent that they portray everything from war to natural disasters fuelled by human greed. Now, these visually-evocative works, that are reminiscent of pieces by Renaissance-era painters like Albrecht Durer and Hieronymus Bosch, are on display at Gallery 27 in a solo exhibition titled Returning Echo.
“Call it an ‘unfortunate foresight,’ but back in 2017, almost a year before the calamitous Kerala Floods, I’d finished a painting of a submerged Kerala called Kara (meaning ‘shore’). The mindless devastation of nature for real estate development triggered this composition,” explains the goldsmith-turned-painter, whose intricate creations have been showcased at venues across Dubai, Mumbai, Baroda and Kolkata.
Another interesting aspect of Returning Echo is how the exhibits are inspired by world cinema’s auteurs including Dziga Vertov and Alejandro Jodorowsky. An oil on canvas creation called Love N War is a clear example, bearing a close resemblance to a scene from the ’70s cult movie, El Topo. “This piece draws parallels to contemporary India where many are vying for blood and calling for conflict. In his film, Jodorowsky also shows how popular warmongering is even amidst the handicapped. Such narratives are timeless,” concludes the 37-year-old.
Till April 10.
At Gallery 27, Mattancherry.