KOCHI: “Girish was not a painter in the conventional sense. He was a fighter of all sorts. A powerful mind, untamed, unpredictable, and trapped in the sensuous world of colours,” says Mini Sukumar, wife of the artist. While commemorating Girish Kumar on the occasion of the four-day exhibition named ‘Missing Spaces’, his wife and daughter reminisce Girish as a source of energy and inspiration.
To his partner, Mini, Girish was a freedom lover and a self-taught artist, who wanted to execute his political thoughts in everyday life. In retrospect, she retold the difficult days in which Girish was mentally depressed and coped with his mood swings using his painting brush. “He met with an accident in 1997. The same year an artist was born. While recovering from the debilitating accident he fell in love with colours.He was depressed, sad and worried. The trauma fed on his happiness and he had tried every remedy to get out of it,” says Mini.
According to his beloved ones, Girish fought against injustice and expressed himself through painting and organising various cultural and political events.“Girish’s paintings are like coded suicide notes, painful but irrepressible ‘correspondences’ about oneself that seek no redressal from the world. One needs a lot of freedom, energy and courage to express life as it comes,” said C S Venkiteswaran, writer and a friend of Girish Kumar.
Calling him a survivor, poet Anitha Thampi writes in her poetry, ‘Girish paints absences... an intense history of life trapped in the sensuous lush green...untamed, without coordinates, rendered in struggling syllables. The phantom experience of an amputated space, a time lost.”Being her father’s little princess, Anna Mini remembers him as a free thinker.
“In my childhood, he influenced me as a writer. After the accident, he became a different person altogether. He had constant black moods. He spent hours indulging in sketching and painting. I don’t remember him saying a no to anything. He was a freedom lover,” said Anna.Travelling imparted a lot to his paintings; Infact, his physical disability never hindered him from visiting places. “As an artist, he lived in a fantasy world.During his last trip to Assam in 2017, he made a rough script for a film and named it as ‘River Island’.
Even though he had stability issues post-accident, those instabilities contributed to his paintings and became masterpieces,” says Mini, recollecting his memories.Anna had made a documentary as a tribute to her father named ‘Ente Achan’. She speaks through her film about her father as a traveller, artist, idealistic man and a person with strong ethics and values.
“Many of his works remain unfinished, including the film. We have plans to organise a commemoration exhibition every year. In the future, we might open a permanent gallery which would exhibit his works,” adds Anna.