Enamoured by Theyyam

Madina Ziganshina, an artist from Portugal spent over two months visiting many a ‘kavu’ in Kannur as part of her desire to mission to portray Theyyam on canvas

Published: 07th March 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2015 03:29 AM   |  A+A-


“While painting, I feel that I slightly open the magic door to the world,”says  Madina Ziganshina, a Portuguese artist. She further explained her idea of art - “where everything is beautiful and ideal, where colour rules.”

In ‘Theyyam’ she chanced to witness the divine magic where colour rules. But capturing the vibrant colours, the magical movements and the divine art of ‘Theyyam’ were a real big challenge, Madina Ziganshina said.

Madina Ziganshina was born in Kasan, the capital of Tatarstan, Russia, but lives in Portugal now. She first watched the ‘dance of gods’ in the kavus here during her visit to India in 2012. “When I first watched ‘Theyyam’, I was wonderstruck by the divine and colourful art,” she recalled. She came back two months ago, accepting an invitation by ‘Travel Kannur,’ a firm that promotes cultural tourism. ‘God’s Own Dance,’ an exhibition of Ziganshina’s paintings on ‘Theyyam’ was held at Brushman’s Art Gallery in Kozhikode.

The artist said that she managed to complete 15 water colour paintings on Theyyam in two months, spending days and nights in the many ‘kavu’ in the region.

“I had been totally involved in the work for the past two months, doing research, visiting kavus during night and painting my impressions during daytime,” Ziganshina said. I tried to bring in colour contrasts, fire and the magic of eye expressions in the frames - the energy, the movements and the whole dynamism. While painting the amazing gods, capturing the brisk martial movements was the real challenge.”

It was important to depict the movements of ‘Theyyam’ and also to capture the dramatic relation of some Gods with fire, the artist said while thanking her friends here and the family members of the Theyyam performers who gave her valuable inputs to understand the myriad meanings and the cultural nuances of the performances.

A globetrotter and the recipient of many awards, Ziganshina has conducted solo exhibitions in many countries, including France, Germany, the US, Holland, Italy, Sweden and Dubai.


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