Artists S G Vasudev loves connecting contemporary art and public, and his works reflect his deep interest in literature, poetry, theatre, music and cinema. His artworks—paintings, drawings and tapestries in silk and life-size murals—are an evidence of it.
Celebrating his five-decade-long reverberating journey, a month-long retrospective of Vasudev ’s artworks, comprising thematic collections from 1962-2017, is being held at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Bengaluru. The exhibition titled ‘Inner Resonance - A return to Sama’ will be on till September 30. It takes a deeper look into different strands of Vasudev’s interests and works, in which he has explored themes such as Maithuna, Vriksha, tree of life and death, humanscapes, earthscapes, theatre of life and rhapsody.
“Every artist desires to share his works with public, and the NGMA offered me the platform. Of the 300 works on display, the main collection is mine, 10 are from National Gallery of Art, Delhi, and some works have been contributed by two-three art collectors. There is a connection between each series and every series has a logical conclusion.”
Recalling his earlier days, the 77-year-old artist says he was heavily influenced by Indian artist F N Souza. “But most Indian art schools teach Western art. If there is realism in Indian art, the Western art has photorealism,” he says.
After his education at Government College of Fine Arts in Chennai, Vasudev along with his teacher-mentor KCS Paniker went on to set up Cholamandal Artists’ Village—an experiment in community living and earning, enabling artists to pursue their art unhindered.
In 1988 he shifted from Chennai to Bengaluru after the death of his wife Arnawaz, who, he says, was an in-house critic for all his works. “In fact, my association with Bengaluru began only then,” says the artist, who helped in establishing the Visual Art Department at Bangalore University.
Vasudev has collaborated with master craftsmen to create his works in copper and tapestry. He has also contributed by designing book covers, sets for stage productions, and worked as an art director for two award-winning feature films.
Much of his works are triggered by his deep response to classical Carnatic music. “I react to music especially Carnatic/Hindustani/Jazz as it is relaxing and it resulted in the Rhapsody series,” says Vasudev, who initiated programmes such as Art Park Bengaluru and Ananya Drishya— open monthly events where one or two artists talk about their work.
Vasudev says, “People are scared to talk to artists and that is how the idea of having an art park came into being. On the first Sunday of every month, it has been bringing art, artists and people together for the past four years, in the Sculpture Garden.”
Vasudev’s connection with art began through his mother, an amateur artist who never received any encouragement from family. “I also had to struggle to get into an art school as my father wanted me to study agriculture. But, overcoming all hurdles, I joined art school and since then, there has been no looking back. In fact, I started with caricatures of Laurel and Hardy, cricketers and film stars which were published in Kannada newspapers,” he says.And even at this age, his spirit to change the world of art is exemplary.
When & where: September 30 at NGMA, Palace Road, Manikyavelu Mansion, Bengaluru