KOCHI: It’s a creative oeuvre marked by deep unrest, a heartache that’s quite palpable, wails that cut through your conscience. Brush and canvas conspire to make an air of acute melancholia in Urangatha Nilavilikal, V Mohanan’s series of paintings exhibited at Vyloppilli Samskriti Bhavan.
All the 42 paintings on display at the gallery bear shades of angst and together they weave a wistful tapestry of suffering and grief. They capture pieces of a never-ending nightmare, ‘that nobody will want to hang them on the walls of their drawing room’ as the artist puts it.
Mohan says his thematic preoccupation with misery is not intentional, rather reflections of a world bereaved of all hope. “This is not exactly a series, but works from various times that left me shattered as an artist and individual. In my frames I try to capture the darkness and tears that surround me. I felt it was my duty to record the horror,” he says.
His canvas is inhabited by pensive, teary-eyed figures - children, women and even vegetation. There are lonely kids, weeping greens and distorted faces - all marked by their intriguing tonal play. “The sea of helpless faces show the time we live in. From emergency and war to abuse and death, every tragedy leaves an irremovable scar in an artist’s mind,” he adds.
Jesus on crucifix, perhaps one of the most evocative visuals in history, finds a place among the paintings. And, giving him company is a sad Buddha, another image blending humanity and disillusionment. You will see tears streaming down the verdant cheeks of Mother Earth, wailing in throes of agony. There are coiling anatomies and a leg jetting out of it, an image reminding you of an infant.
“Children and their vulnerability is another aspect I am trying to explore through colours,” he adds pointing to a child in front of a corpse.
Some of the works are inspired by specific incidents, like the one he started during the darkest hours of night, unsettled by the death of a young man inside a manhole. “There are moments you lose faith in humanity, realise that cruelty has the same face irrespective of national and ethnic divides. You witness the death of a certain value or ideology at a point and that changes everything else for you,” he says.
The exhibition is on till March 28. Visit the gallery between 11 am and 6 pm.