Revisiting Rajasthan on canvas

With Rajasthan coming alive in his paintings, K Murugesan brings scenes of the people and the way of life in the desert to Chennai  

author_img Kannalmozhi Kabilan Published :  15th February 2022 03:46 PM   |   Published :   |  15th February 2022 03:46 PM
K Murugesan brings scenes of the people and the way of life in the desert

K Murugesan brings scenes of the people and the way of life in the desert

A richly regaled bull in strokes of black and white, with a splash of colour in the bright orange fabric wrapped around its horns and a touch of yellow in the cowherd’s turban and shawl. Monochrome women with bronze-tinted pots, a hint of sindoor and whisper of vibrance in their veils. They might all be familiar scenes but at the Soul Spice Art Gallery, on its pristine white walls, these paintings hang differently. Thanks to K Murugesan who hopes to offer you a dichotomous representation of life in Rajasthan.

‘My View of Rajasthan’ is the product of his long-standing fascination for the state, its people and their way of life. Every visit to the state — made over a period of 10 years — has only added to this sentiment. “The culture across Rajasthan is quite similar. It is quite intriguing to learn about the kind of life in a desert land. So much revolves around water and the search for it. They — mainly women — walk long distances to fetch water. It is judiciously used. I wanted to depict all this in my work too,” he narrates.

A love for the state and its culture must certainly include a penchant for their clothes as well. It is no different with Murugesan. It was a particular joy to bring that vibrance to life in the form of minimalist black and white paintings, he notes. “If you look back, the turbans they use, traditional attire, their jewellery and such were available in Chennai even before 1940. But a lot of that has been lost to time and forgotten in collective memory. That is the main reason why I wanted to put up this exhibition in the city, to bring back a piece of that familiarity,” he explains.

And the idea certainly seems to have resonated with the local populace. A little over a week since the exhibition started, the paintings have been flying off the walls. Orders have come in even from outside the country, reports Murugesan. For that, he is quite grateful for the gallery that has proved to be a valuable collaborator. “I have worked with them for 20 years. The people behind Vinyasa Art Gallery are the ones who started this gallery, after the former shut down in 2016,” he notes, sharing a glimpse into their working history.

The ongoing exhibition is also part of Murugesan’s quest to depict India’s rural life on canvas. While he is yet to decide which countryside he would be representing in his next series, he is sure that it would be oil on canvas creations.

The exhibition is on till February 19.