Despite minimal pictorial details, the adept strokes of Parameshwar Raju are certain to lure one with the ambiguous layers of meaning hidden within the simple calligraphic narrative. A plain thin line, getting thicker as it continues its journey and concluding as a thin line, manages to form stunningly convincing figures, of epic characters like Rama, Krishna, Sita, Hanuman, who have already made an indelible imprint in our minds.
With his sharp poster nib, conventionally used for writing alphabets, the seasoned calligrapher from Aurangabad recounts the epic tales of Ramayana and Krishnaleela in a unique style. The works of Parameshwar, titled ‘Lore of Belief,’ are on display at the Orthic Creative Centre, Karakkamuri Cross Road.
“The greatest challenge of a calligraphic script is to appear clear, sans any embellishments,” says the soft-spoken artist. Ask him how he reached the world of calligraphy and the artist says, “I learned calligraphy as an art student at Government School of Art, Aurangabad. My teachers there, including A K Ramavarma, S V Pendse, V B Lokhande taught me the purity and integrity of simple strokes and led me to the world of devanagari scriptures and icons.”
A collection of 37 works under the ‘Ramayana’ series intrigues one with the masterful narration of the whole tale within a confined framework. The series starts with Shiva telling the story of Rama and Sita to Parvati. “There are around 300 versions of the Ramayana in the country. I have attempted to adopt the elements of the stories popular in both south and north,” he says. “For example, the traditional Ramayana does not have Sita’s ‘agnipareeksha’, where as the modern version elaborates on how Sita jumps into the holy pyre, when suspicions were raised about her fidelity. I have included that in the series,” he elaborates.
“Parameshwar’s works are both conceptual and iconographic,” says Koeli Mukherjee Ghose, the curator. Explaining the meaning, she says, “The Ramayana series and Krishnaleela are all conceptual works, based on known stories. He has also stylised symbolic figures like Swastika, Ashtaganapathi and Krishna Jagannath in Puri, which fall in the category of iconographic works,” she said.
Red is the predominant colour in his works, about which the artist says, “When the colour is red, it is easy to understand the strokes.” White plays a major role too, with strokes harmoniously aligned within the white surface. Koeli explains, “In his works, the interplay of both the colours conveys the meaning completely.”
The calligraphic scriptures of Parameshwar are not confined to the frontiers of Hindu mythology. The artist says that he has also done works based on Jesus and Buddha. The exhibition also showcases works like stylised Aums, Navagraha, Surya, mythology of the temple of Mylapore, depictions of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.