THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Women have contributed much to the domains which were once the strongholds of men. The middle of the 20th century saw such a vibrant presence emerging in the artistic scene in Kerala - T K Padmini, who made an identity of her own in painting. Sadly, the girl from Ponnani had only a short life of 29 years to put on canvas some of her remarkable artistic creations.
After more than four decades since she bade adieu to the world, the life of the artist is being resuscitated through lens in the documentary ‘Pattam Parathunna Penkutti’ (Girl with the Kite). Directed by Walter D Cruz, an information officer with the Information and Public Relations Department (I&PRD) of Government of Kerala, the work is probably the first of its kind on T K Padmini.
Walter had to re-visit the memories cherished by her dear and near ones and also the world of colours she had left behind. The decision to make a documentary on T K Padmini, he says, originated out of the appreciation for the brilliance in the works she created in a brief period of time. “She was an artist who maintained a depth in the subjects of her works. And also it was a time when the field did not have a strong participation of women. If her area of activity was somewhere outside Kerala, she would have got recognised much before,” he says.
A good chunk of information was poured in by Padmini’s uncle T K Divakara Menon, who identified and nurtured the talent in her. Her classmate and noted artist C N Karunakaran, her teachers Artist Namboodiri and K L Devassi too speak on the artist in the documentary.
It was a set of paintings of Padmini that Walter happened to see in the Gallery of Durbar Hall at Kochi nearly a decade ago that instilled in him the wish to make a documentary about her. It took the effort of three long years to finish the documentary, which was completed in phases. The documentary also brings to the limelight some of the unknown works of Padmini that were in the possessions of art collectors and connoisseurs.
Padmini’s paintings bring forth the sharp images of a woman’s sensibilities. Her works brim with the serenity of country side. The artist’s had come to an abrupt end following complications in childbirth in 1969.
Walter D Cruz had written the screenplay for the 2007 Malayalam movie ‘Thakarachenda’ and has also made a one-minute short film ‘The Rider’ in 2004.
The 30-minute-long documentary, produced by the I&PRD, is to be released at the Press Club Hall on Friday at 6 pm.