THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: S Solvaraj is no mathematician. But this drawing teacher, who distills down anything and everything he does for educational purposes, has been exploring the possibilities of geometric lines for the past few years. His latest series ‘Magic of Lines’, which he exhibited at Neyyattinkara Govt Boys Higher Secondary School, is an array of patterns he designed using just compass, scale and sketch pens on chart papers.
“Geometry is an intriguing subject. When you look at some of these pictures they have arcs and straight lines created unintentionally. When you draw a number of straight lines in myriad ways they might end up as arcs or circles. On the other hand many arcs may create straight lines,” says Solvaraj.
It was during one of the school youth festivals that Solvaraj stumbled upon an intricate geometric pattern designed by a boy who won the first prize that year. “I have seen that picture, which seemed quite interesting as well as complicated. Then I started experimenting with lines. Next year, I taught one of my students to draw a similar pattern and that year my student secured the first prize. Since then, I have been dabbling with lines,” says Solvaraj. This exhibition being conducted as a part of the ongoing teachers’ training programme is Solvaraj’s very first attempt to enter into the formidable world of art.
“I have been experimenting with lines for the sole purpose to teach children. So an exhibition was never my intention. But when I showed some of these works to the drawing teachers out there they prompted me to exhibit some of my works during this training programme,” says Solvaraj.
Solvaraj, who was originally named Selvaraj, had to change his name due to a spelling error committed by his school administration. As he found the name ‘Solvaraj’ unique, he didn’t go about changing it. A drawing teacher at St Xaviers Higher Secondary School, Peyad, he makes sure that everything he does art-wise has to be useful for the children as well.
Says one of his colleagues, the drawing teacher of Neyyattinkara Govt Boys Higher Secondary School, “He is so sincere in his work that even when he does something from home, he uses it for teaching. I have learnt Yoga and meditation over the years and I find a soothing quality about these geometric patterns.”
If you concentrate on some of Solvaraj’s works thronging with heptagons and pentagons shaded with pastels, the lines exude a spiraling effect on the onlookers while luring them onto its contours. There are butterflies, families, flowers and patterns he had created using circles and lines. Solvaraj’s works do not follow any particular class or genre instead he scrawls them with perfect measurements and concepts. Like renowned artist Picasso once said about his novel art genre cubism and how it has not been understood, “I do not read English, an English book is a blank book to me. This does not mean that the English language does not exist. Why should I blame anyone but myself if I cannot understand what I know nothing about?”, Solvaraj does not expect everyone out there to understand his works. Instead he humbly stands beside them to explicate the possibilities of geometric shapes to the children.