Oriental in India

Sucy Titus’ works are a rarity, and she is well acquainted with the art of Chinese brush painting — drawn on thin, scroll-like paper. CE  catches up with the artist ahead of her exhibition this weeken

Published: 22nd February 2017 10:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd February 2017 05:38 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:Paintings drawn on thin, scroll-like paper in soft hues to showcase landscapes, flora and fauna of the Orient, Sucy Titus’ works are a rarity, especially for those uninitiated to the ancient art of Chinese brush painting. Pine trees, bamboos, lions, tigers, and birds fill her creations, each one signed with her name in Chinese and a sigil.

Sucy’s works will be exhibited this weekend to raise funds for cancer awareness among women. CE caught up with the octogenarian for a chat on what brought her into the art form that helped her flourish! “My mother was very artistic, so I owe my creative side to picking things up from her. I used to very actively pursue oil and water colour paintings, stitching, embroidery — all sorts of things!” she chuckles.  
When she relocated to Manila, The Philippines, along with her late husband she met Professor Chen Bing Sun, who is known as the father of Chinese brush painting. It changed her life.
Under his tutelage for nearly five years, Sucy developed her skill in this intricate art. “I didn’t study under him as a regular student, but over time I learnt the real technique from him. There were not many practitioners of Chinese painting in India at that point,” she says.
Her proficiency increased to such a level that she eventually started showcasing them in exhibitions in Manila — the Indian Embassy there today proudly showcases one of her works! “I took a sabbatical after returning to India, but I took it up once again after my husband passed away, and found that I could use the ample time on my hands to paint!” she smiles.

Chinese brush painting can be called single-stroke painting – primarily because of the delicate rice paper and vegetable colours used. “The colours soak into the rice paper and you can’t change it, neither can you paint over it on account of the thinness,” Sucy explains.
All materials have to be sourced from Singapore since very few do it in India! The framing called scrolling is also extremely unique; it gives the charm of an ancient painting rendered on Chinese scrolls. “I started giving some of my paintings to friends as gifts, until I realised that I wanted to also give something to charity,” she says.

Social work was not new to Sucy, who also contributed to the Missionaries of Charity in the Phillipines. Cancer awareness was something she was very interested in supporting, and so she has collaborated with the NGO Penn Nalam, which has been working in rural regions and slums in Chennai on raising cancer awareness among women. She will donate proceeds from this exhibition.
Sucy says that she regularly sits for three or four hours a day and completes her paintings depending on the size and the extent of details. “I draw from what I have seen and also from pictures I took over the course of travels in China and Japan.” Also, traditionally Chinese brush paintings have elements of their own landscape like pine trees, bamboos, and birds and fishes endemic to China. But Sucy, over the years, has adapted a few of her techniques and often paints by transferring Indian landscapes.

The exhibition will be inaugurated at 6.30 pm
February 24, on Friday, at The Folly, Amethyst, Whites Road, Royapettah, and will be displayed till Saturday


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