Through his artworks, Akhil Thampuran finds his roots and explores many hidden realities and dimensions
Akhil Thampuran’s artworks pique your interest at first glance. It opens a door to his meta-reality. For the artist who always struggled to find his footing in the world, visual media, especially psychedelic art, offered a space to express, explore his tangents and tell the world things beyond what words can express.
“I always felt different. I found the mainstream reality very translucent. Through my psychedelic art, I am trying to convey what I am and who I am. Many people always miss the essence of what goes on around us. When words failed me and art helped, I could feel that I am expressing myself better, “ says Akhil, who is an industrial designer by profession. “My art is my language, “ he adds.
All through his life, Akhil found himself disconnected from others, even his name. “My name, Thampuran, was my father’s silent protest against the existing classism. When my brother was born and he was named Nikhil, I insisted I get a name like that too. So I became Akhil Thampuran,” he quips.
The Kozhikode-native has been exploring his truths through different dimensions. “Meditation helps, “ he explains. “But I never fully remember everything I saw or felt once I am out of the meditative state, “ he says. However, he plans every detail before starting a painting. It takes him months to plan out each stroke and detail of the picture and to say what he truly understood.
For Akhil, the concept is more important than the aesthetics. What he wants to convey takes the centre stage in his drawings. With a multitude of details, intricate lines and heavy imageries, his art is a microcosm of all the hidden realities and dimensions. His ongoing series Kukie Explores is an aesthetic depiction of forests, flora and fauna, and even our digital lives.
In Kukie explores the spirit of the forest, his latest, Akhil explores the lives of the wild forest. “The forest has life. The trees speak to themselves through an intricate network that connects the mother tree to the roots. There’s a collective spirit in each forest, “ says Akhil.
His other works tell the stories of forgotten cultures of the voiceless around us, even an effort to preserve the rich shamanic culture of Malabar. In The Oracle drawn in paper, he tries to find out the trance state of a Velichappadu. “He is the one who sees the light and becomes one with the kaavu during the ritual, he loses himself or rather, finds himself, “ says the artist.
The artwork done in A1 paper took him over a month to finish. “The ancient culture of southern Kerala is forever lost to us due to the invasion of Brahmanism. Northern Kerala withstood this to an extent and some parts of the old lives still remain with us in the form of Theyyam, Poorhapattu and other folk rituals. I am trying to explore these and trace them back to our past.