THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Mural art, a familiar sight in temples which highlights gods is a traditional art spanning many decades. For Meena Kumari, retired Postal office employee and artist, mural art was always on her cards. Currently, besides being a mural artist, she also holds classes on mural painting and embroidery.
A student of artist Prince Thonnakkal since 2000, she says, “I was introduced to mural painting by Prince Thonnakkal. I saw a small mural painting of his in a stationery shop and asked for his contact. Under his tutelage I started painting murals all by myself. After 17 years, 18 of us did our first exhibition titled ‘Mural Ramayanam’ where important scenes from the Ramayana such as the Sitaswayamvaram and Jatayu Maranam were depicted. We displayed about 35 paintings then, including the painting by our master titled ‘Kothandarama’. This exhibition was held in other places like Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam.”
After the Ramayanam project, she did ‘Mural Mahabharatham’ where Prince did an eight feet by four feet depiction of ‘Viswaroopam’ which unfolds into 113 frames; a massive project where images from Mahabharata were depicted. “We made books after the Ramayanam project and also did a project on Ganapati. We are also the Asian Award Holder for ‘Mural Mahabharatham’,” informs Meena.
Her mural painting classes are conducted once in a week. “I observed that children were interested in learning mural art so I started classes. Practicals are done only after thorough explanation of the respective portion.
After a few months, they start painting murals on their own,” she says.
Besides mural art, she is also well versed in varied styles of painting such as the Madhubani painting, Tanjore painting, and peacock work on solo wood.
She says, “I learned the Madhubani style of painting online.” She is also a member of the Kerala Chithrakala Parishad. She also has a shop ‘Ratna art’ in the city where she conducts embroidery classes.Presently two of her paintings have been displayed in the ongoing exhibition at Museum Auditorium. “I like to keep myself occupied therefore I regularly participate in exhibitions,” she adds.