To be honoured is a wish that everyone dreams of, but to be appreciated on a foreign soil? Well, honey won’t taste sweeter than the happiness that such an honour brings.Sedunath Prabhakar, a Melbourne-based Malayali artist, became the first Indin Australia.ian to hold an exhibition in the Victorian Parliament The exhibition, Pride of Australia, showcased the legends, who played important roles in shaping the history of Australia, on a canvas spanning 50 feet. “I portrayed 50 personalities on the invitation of Australian government,” says the 43-year-old artist.
“It took me one-and-a-half years to finish the work. The first hurdle was my lack of knowledge of Australian history. Also, it was difficult to get hold of photographs, especially those from the 18th century,” says Sedunath. He had arranged the portraits according to the birth year.
There were images of cricketing great Donald Bradman, first woman Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Captain James Cook (explorer), John Monash (army commander who took part in the First World War), Patrick White (Nobel Prize winner in literature), Emily Kame Kngwarreye (aboriginal artist), Ian Thorpe (swimmer), and Tim Cahill (footballer).
But when it came to painting them, he faced another challenge: finding an appropriate easel. “I made a special easel with the help of my friends. After I finished one painting, I could roll it and begin the next,” says Sedunath, who painted the portraits in acrylic, even though his favourite medium is oil. “I love oil, but it is a difficult medium to work with. Hence, for such an extensive project I used acrylic.”
Basking in the warmth of the reception, he is now hoping that the work will be displayed at Australia’s Federal Parliament. He has been holding talks with the multicultural minister.
About being conferred with an award, he says, it will take time. “I am not hankering after rewards of any sort. The recognition that my work receives is a reward in itself,” says Sedunath, who also paints murals also.
Sedunath, who did graduation from the faculty of fine arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, was recently invited by the Ministry of Oman and the Indian Ambassador to hold an exhibition in Muscat.