Dance of the divine

Graphic designer Lijin P M explores emotions, people, and divine energy in his art. In bright and vivid tones, his works encourage viewers to look beyond the surfac

author_img Mahima Anna Jacob Published :  06th August 2022 12:55 PM   |   Published :   |  06th August 2022 12:55 PM

In bold strokes and bright colours, Lijin P M expresses his thoughts. Anything that stirs him up emotionally becomes a part of his oeuvre. Those flamboyant colours strike a chord with us, unravelling some mysteries through each frame.Though Lijin has been doing artwork since childhood, he started illustrating social issues and imaginary characters while studying at the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram.  “Most of my artworks have an emotion.

It may be inspired by a movie, things I see in real life or anything that strikes me in the spur of a moment,” says Lijin, who currently works as a graphic designer in Bengaluru.  He started by tapping into the childhood memories which get blurred in the fast-paced life. As time passed, movies and conversations expanded his thoughts. “I realised that posting anything on social media to get maximum likes and shares is not the ideal way. I wanted to communicate emotions and put out valid messages through my art,” says Lijin. Later the Kozhikode native started exploring people around him and nature through eccentric storytelling and bold images.

The spiritual being
No matter what the concept - mythology, film posters, fashion, psychedelic figures - Lijin experiments with contrasting colours. “When we use the correct colours, it captures one’s attention and holds it for a longer period,” he adds.  His human characters seem straight out of a fantasy world. In supreme divinity, the ordinary is showcased. Kelu, Neeli, and Maadan are some excerpts from his tribal art.“It’s the names that struck me first. One of my friends is from Wayanad. He used to share many stories with characters that had such names. They stayed with me. Through my art, I tried to recreate those characters,” says Lijin.

In those vivid colours, the characters are living in a surreal world. This imaginary world has a different “aura”, he adds. “In art, a divine aura is often given to godly characters. In my world, each human comes with such a spiritual air. What I tried to show is humans are no different from any divine power. All of us are equal,” he says.

Fire and red
Lijin loves portraying Theyyam in his art. Unlike the usual majestic and grandeur appearance, he visualises Theyyam characters in an eerie dark backdrop. Something out of a menacing nightmare. A child Theyyam comes out of a jungle with a fire torch. He looks scary, out of a horror movie. Kandaar Kelan — a Theyyam character — appears with his face covered in fire. It reminds us of his death in the burning fire, just before he attains rebirth with the help of Vayanattu Kulavan.  “Theyyam is one of my favourite art forms. I love to paint each character uniquely. By telling a story, I want to make the spectator feel the dance of the divine,”he says.

QUESTION EVERYTHING
He tries to question everything through art, which has become something of an unlearning process for both the artist and the spectator. Kids playing with palm leaf toys is a familiar sight to any 90s kid. However, what should have reminded us of a happy childhood evokes a contrary emotion in his work. Of the three kids, the one in the centre has raised his middle finger in defiance. “When we were kids, we must have heard people saying not to go out in the sun lest our skin turn dark. Sometimes they would point to another child and say we’d turn black like that kid. From then on, ideas of racism and casteism get rooted in our minds. So at a young age, disparity begins. The boy is showing the middle finger to society’s toxicity,” says Lijin.

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