BENGALURU: Thanjavur painting started in a small town in eastern Tamil Nadu way back in 1600 AD. The art thrived and spread across India, though it remains predominantly practised in south India.
R S Vasavamma is one of the many artists who started on it 42 years ago, when she was 35. Despite her unsteady hands, at the age of 77, she persists with Thanjavur (or Tanjore) paintings.
“My husband encouraged me to start,” she says, “and I learnt art from Doreswamy, a national awardee, and then at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath.”
In line with tradition, she embellishes her works with gold sheets, sequences, pearls and stones. The artist makes little of her efforts and says that these paintings are in demand because they have a long shelf life. But they are not, by any stretch, easy to do.
“I usually take a month to finish one painting,” she says, “but it again varies with the size of the painting too. An A4 size painting takes anywhere between 15 days to one month.”
In her art, we can easily gauge a love for the divine. “I like painting God,” says the artist who stood first in Traditional Art category in 1993.
Vasavamma is determined to use her skills to provide employment for the needy. “I take free tuitions to anyone who wishes to learn the art,” she says. “I have been teaching for many years now, and have taught more than 100 women.”
She even took classes in the US at the Kannada Sangama and Telugu Sangama. College and school students and working employees including doctors have been tutored by her.
There were also women who wanted to learn the art to support their family.
She has presented her works at more than 30 solo exhibitions and a few group exhibitions. Some of them include Lalita Kala Academy, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Mysore Dussera Expo, Summer Fair in Palace grounds and Venkatappa Art Gallery.
Vasavamma will be presenting her works at the community hall near Jains Prakrithi Apartments in Jayanagar VI block from November 18.