New Delhi: Septuagenarian artist A. Ramachandran`s work will be showcased for the first time in Kerala next month, nearly 56 years after he left the state to pursue his artistic ambitions.
"Kerala wasn`t the state for me. At that time not even a single artist would flourish there. It was a place for filmmakers, poets and writers, but a genuine artist never got his due there," Ramachandran said.
"There were always intelligent young artists but we have a history of harbouring sensitive audience. This attitude has marred this field, but some excellent young artists are changing this perception now," he added.
Though the 78-year-old Delhi-based painter-sculptor does visit his native state, financial obstacles were always a deterrent to have his solo exhibition there.
"It never happened because taking my work there is an expensive affair. It involves a lot of money," said the artist, who left Thiruvananthapuram at the age of 23 to study art at Santiniketan in West Bengal.
The support came from Vadehra Art Gallery, which is organising the exhibition at the Durbar Hall Gallery in Ernakulam, a major financial and commercial hub about 210 km from the Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram, from August 11 to 25.
The exhibition will showcase Ramachandran`s 100 artworks. "The earliest of them would date back to 1964," he said, adding that historian R. Siva Kumar will be the curator.
The exhibition will feature 48 paintings, 38 water-colour works, 10 etchings and four sculptures.
Though Ramachandran`s initial paintings dealt with themes of India`s partition after Independence and people`s sufferings in urban India, gradually his works also reflected nature and happiness.
"Initially my paintings were highly political. I was a young man, an angry young man. There were the things I could identify with and those were the subjects of my paintings," he admitted.
"But then I realised that art is an expensive hobby and why to have such themes adorn the walls of your rooms? It is better to spread happiness through paintings," he added.