Portrait of an actor as an artist
It’s a dream come true for this multi-faceted man. Though fond of painting from an early age, his work, as he puts it, had never come out of closed doors. But all that is changing now for actor Kamal Kamaraju. His first ever solo art show is set to open in the city on Saturday. “This is the first time that my paintings are coming out of the closed room and all I want is for it to be thought-provoking,” says the artist.
Christened ‘My Name is Minnu’, the series of paintings revolves around a character called Minnu. The idea of doing something for a girl child, Kamal recalls, struck him when he was penning a script for a short film, I am Famous. “The film was about a little girl born with HIV because it was passed on to her by her mother. That girl’s name was Minnu. That is how the name came up,” he explains. He quickly clarifies that Minnu not only reflects the plight of a girl child but also talks about related aspects like treatment of women, the various perceptions and opinions of and against women in the society.
Kamaraju has tried to cover a plethora of subjects through his art work--- right from female foeticide and child education, to children of sex workers. For example, one of the paintings shows Minnu sitting in a tunnel with her books, trying to study, when it is pouring outside. “This painting just meant that she’s an orphan and doesn’t have anyone, but wants to study, work hard and make something out of herself. This is how I want every woman to be --- strong, confident, who never gives up,” emphasises the young artist. Another painting has a naked woman holding her child in her arms, conveying that she is a sex worker. “For others she may be a sex worker, but for the child, she is a mother,” opines Kamaraju.
“Women are the same everywhere. I would look at my mother’s selfless acts of generosity and my respect for her and other women would increase by leaps and bounds,” says the artist who wants to create a system wherein other people can join in and change the perspective of people in the society. Recollecting an incident, he says that an artist saw one of his paintings and realised how he was pressurising his wife for a male child, when a female child is an equal blessing. “This is the kind of impact I want my paintings to have on people. I not only want to invoke good thoughts, but also want to create a system to change the system,” adds Kamaraju.
Being an actor, why use the medium of paintings to spread a message? “Well, after I wrote the story for that short film, I realised that if we keep talking about the issue, people will not understand. I thought I should use art, make people fall in love with my paintings and the character (Minnu) and then throw light on the problems that Minnu faces,” he replies.
Apart from the paintings, Kamal Kamaraju has also come up with limited edition calendars with 12 of his paintings on them. “I thought calendars would be interesting,” he says. Proceeds from the sale of these calendars and his paintings will go to the CAP Foundation, which works towards the betterment of underprivileged children.The exhibition will begin on January 7 at the Muse Art Gallery, The Marriott.