Coimbatore man’s master stroke to save native species for posterity
While illustrating, Ragavan is sure to bring out an accurate portrayal to the best of his abilities, capturing details such as feather textures, natural colour spectrum, and so on.
COIMBATORE: Amidst dialogues around conservation of wildlife, questions highlighting individual contribution are not unheard of. Suresh Ragavan, a 59-year-old man from Vadavalli, has taken it upon himself to preserve at least the memory of certain flora and fauna by painting them. So far, Ragavan has managed to illustrate 50 endemic birds, 42 endemic wild animals, and 155 endemic orchids. That too just in time for Endemic Bird Day on May 13.
Ragavan, who is presently working as an illustrator in the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), over the years, went on to document in a realistic manner, endemic flora and fauna such as the Nilgiri wood pigeon, Asiatic lion, Nilgiri marten, Grey-fronted green pigeon, Aenhenrya rotundifolia and Brachycorythis Iantha. Most of these birds, plants, and animals are from the Western Ghats.
While illustrating, Ragavan is sure to bring out an accurate portrayal to the best of his abilities, capturing details such as feather textures, natural colour spectrum, and so on.What drew him in to taking on such a task was the idea of documenting these near-extinct forms of life for the coming generations, preserving to some extent the experience of encountering these rarities, he says, adding that his family has also been pivotal by supporting him wholeheartedly.
“I have attempted to sketch these endemic creatures and plants in a realistic manner, all the way down to having the natural colours right. I provide both Tamil and English names for my illustrations to create awareness for the coming generations, who will ultimately be in the forefront of preserving these life forms,” said Suresh Raghavan, an artist who also worked as a textile and a book layout designer.
His entire practice outside of his work is funded with money out of his own pocket. I have spent most of my leisure time, for the last four years, making these illustrations, he says, adding that, it takes about four to five days for a drawing to be completed. However, he has no plans of selling them.
“I will never sell these drawings. If I do so, my dreams of carrying forward these illustrations to the layman would also vanish with the endemic life forms. I have begun approaching schools and colleges to display my drawings. My drawings also were featured in the CODISSIA book fair,” says Harish.
(Edited by Suriya Balakrishnan)