Speaking in strokes

Artsit T N Subodhkumar’s exhibition ‘Thadhaagatha’ freezes stories in frames

Published: 20th November 2019 06:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th November 2019 06:57 AM   |  A+A-

T N Subodhkumar

Express News Service

KOCHI:  ‘Thadhaagatha’ translates to the one who arrived at the moment. For artist T N Subodhkumar, his frames are a depiction of times and places—from history, a story or memory. Based in Cheranellur, and employed as a designer with a prominent regional daily, this 59-year-old artist has arranged a versatile collection of drawings and paintings at Durbar Hall Art Gallery. Watercolour, acrylic, gouache, and pen on paper are the mediums he has selectively used to portray storylines and emotions.

The exhibition features four series. ‘Thadhagatha’, an eponymous line with three paintings that showcase the life of Buddha. One frame shows him in his mother’s womb and as a child, while the second one has his wife and archenemy Devadatta. The third painting shows the monk in transition—resisting many temptations crawling at him in the dark. 

T N Subodhkumar

Another series depicts four months of Kollavarsham (Malayalam calendar) with relatable elements, Medam with its shrubs and leaves, Kumbham through a man walking with a pot full of clouds, Karkidakam in rainy blue shades and Meenam with two fishes and the warm colours of summer. 
The artist has included meticulous details within each—like the outline of a roaring Theyyam figure between the orange layers of Meenam or scampering crabs in the deep waters of Karkkidakam. 

Another line named ‘Not Yet’ condenses all the emotions of longing—a woman in deep thoughts surrounded by lingering dreams, falling leaves, and wilting flowers. ‘Gopika’ series places the eponymous femme fatale from mythology, timid, beautiful women against elements of nature.

Subodhkumar’s watercolour drawings are effortless, like a casual note he wrote about the world around him. “The lonely singer, a woman gazing away into a distance—these are all things I have seen through my journeys by train or road. If the moment excites me, I paint it out,” says the artist. Two black ink on paper drawings at the center of the exhibition is an impressive juxtaposition amidst all the colours offered by Thadhaagatha.

The first one, titled ‘Birth of Black God’ shows the ascend of an evil ruler, elected and raised by the crowd. Another one shows the endless sky being trapped in a frame. “When the subject has social or political implications, I prefer the colour black. It somehow feels like the right way to voice out the frustration behind those ideas,” he adds. A diploma holder in drawing and painting, Subodhkumar has participated in a lot of regional and national exhibitions, including those arranged by Kerala Lalithakala Academy. 

The exhibition ends on Nov 20


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