HYDERABAD: Lord Hanuman has many faces, shades and a stupendous personality. Artist Appam Raghava, son of a village painter from Amangal town in Ranga Reddy District, brings to the city Lord Hanuman in endless forms of divinity by touching simple details on his canvas and through his modern yet traditional sculptures in Deccani-Bidri, brass and aluminium works. CE speaks to the artist about his first solo exhibit being held at Onedot6, Jubilee Hills.
This artist displays the lessons learnt from the epics to attain salvation through Lord Hanuman’s Dasya Bhakti. “Like any other boy, I was a big fan of Lord Hanuman. When I grew up I became a devotee too but was curious in the commonalities between Lord Hanuman and Ravana. Their characteristics are totally different to each other, yet, from the perspective of ‘bhakti’ they share a common ground,” says Appam Raghava. He learned to paint from his father Appam Bhadriah. “Until recently, I used to paint village arts, depicting the life of our village, oral traditions from our village, but later on I started painting mythological characters,” says the artist.
Lord Hanuman’s love for Lord Rama is a perfect personification of his mastery of visual representation. “There is a spiritual element in my artworks that clearly comes from my imagination born out of faith. But, I’ve always been mesmerised by the unconditional ‘bhakti bhava’ Lord Hanuman has, towards Lord Rama. Lord Hanuman resembles a monkey, an animal, and Lord Rama is a prince, this relation proclaims subtly that we are not separate from other beings and that our existence is an expression of the indescribable presence of God in us,” Raghava added.
The artist works alone in his studio located on one of the hillocks at Amangal. “I like working in close proximity to nature and in peace. So, I stay away from cities as much as I can. Cities are too chaotic for artists like me,” concludes Raghava.