‘Truth’, an exhibition by artist Sunny Mananthavady, is a collection of paintings which talks about larger-than-life issues. The theme is ‘Surrealism’. This is a style which is created by making strange figures from everyday objects and developing techniques that allows the unconscious to express itself.
Sunny’s favorite painting is a representation of the struggle that the late painter M F Hussain went through. This is shown in the form of cubes which have equal sides and there is Hussain’s body on top of them conveying the message that the artist is above the people. “There is no replacement for the great artist M F Hussain and his contribution to society,” says Sunny. “Unfortunately, the government had not given him his due, while he was alive.”
In another work, Sunny, a resident of Wayanad, expresses the trauma faced by an average couple from that area. A pair is sitting on a swing, and pondering over the poverty-stricken state they are in. “This is the agony of many families,” he says. “I wanted to bring this to the notice of the public.” Sunny represents this grief by using the colour black in the background. The painting also contains empty milk cans, which reveals their profession, from which they are not earning enough for survival.
Another of his paintings, all of which are acrylic on canvas, is his portrayal of the alarming rate at which our state is consuming alcohol. Sunny depicted this by drawing various liquor bottles upside down, with a sprinkler on the side. “I wanted to show that the government is encouraging the sale of alcohol and indirectly harming the public,” he says.
Sunny also focuses on issues such as abortions. In one work, there is an unborn child which is shown dripping out of a bottle. The artist expresses the horror behind this act by showing a vicious-looking rat waiting to pounce on the foetus. “Evil practices such as these are the sole reason why our society is not evolving in a healthy way,” he says.
There is also a painting of a beautiful tree which is represented in bright green, but its roots are in dark shades, with drawings of dead animals and waste material around it. “This is the condition of our society,” says Sunny. “It looks very decorative on the outside, but is infected with a lot of evil practices.” The aim is to send a message to the common man through his work. “I have travelled all the way from Wayanad to Kochi with the sole intention of raising awareness,” he says.
The exhibition, at the Durbar Hall, concludes on November 7.