MANGALURU: Home is where the art is! Santosh Andrade, a Mangaluru-based contemporary artist, believes in this so much that he has turned his 1,600 sqft house into a work of art. He has built for himself a unique ‘Art Nest’— his new residence/art studio built on his family property.His compound greets you with a huge mural near the gates. The mural depicts nature in the coastal region. It shows a huge tree near a river with two women fetching water. Fishes and lotuses can be seen in the water, there are cows grazing around the tree. A contemporary twist has been subtly added by showing one of the women with a mobile phone to take a picture and a boy taking a selfie sitting on the tree.
The mural took him many sleepless days and nights to paint. “In the mornings, I used to be busy with construction work. To paint I need a calm mind and surroundings. Hence, I would stay up very late and then wake up early to finish this work. Such a painting can take several layers, the background took 25-30 layers before I could start working on it,” Andrade said.
This unique form of style emerged from his experiments with Madhubani, a style of folk art which is from Mithila region of Bihar. “A lecturer once gave me a book on this style and after that I have been mixing this folk art with my own ideas, modernistic and realistic styles,” Andrade said. His art now is a mixture of contemporary ideas and realism and Madhubani.
At the entrance of his house, Andrade placed a Buddha statue. “I want everyone who comes here to feel blessed with peace and calm within.” In the hallway, a small door has been redecorated into an altar. As an observant learner, he noticed how they fitted tiles during the construction of his house. He then used the remaining coloured tiles to form mosaic murals in his hallways and around a few windows.Another attraction is the use of old roof tiles. Andrade has painted the roof tiles and made a 6x5 tile mural in his living room. He has also painted the doors of old cupboards with scenic pictures of parrots, fishes and fitted them as window panes.
The upper storey of his house is converted into his art studio. On display is an array of paintings, with his favourite theme ’Life goes on’. As he is a frequent train traveller, one of his canvases depicts a railway station with a stark black and white staircase in the middle. “People of different castes, social status travel by train, people come and go but life like this staircase goes on. It can go either up or down but is always onward,” he said.
A wall fitted with tinted bottles, a sit-out with a wall collage made by wooden circles and tree rings collected when roadside trees were cut are the other unique features. “I had a basic idea of what I wanted to do, but couldn’t fulfil my vision due to lack of space and engineering setbacks,” he said.