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Lockdown set his imagination on fire

This artist had spent sleepless nights painting one canvas after another

The COVID-19-induced lockdown period was one of inactivity for most, but for artist Aswany Kumar V.S., it was one of frenetic activity and of sleepless nights spent painting one canvas after another. Now, the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi has organised an exhibition of all those works done by him during the pandemic period, at the Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan.

In contrast to the mood of gloom and fear outside during this period, these paintings are of a world of myriad colours, reflecting the longing for a time gone by.

Farms and coasts

“I was born in a family involved in farming activities in the rural area of Venjaramoodu. Some of the images in this series have been drawn from memories of childhood, of the nature scenes, and objects usually seen around back then. Many of my paintings are based on agrarian lives and lives of farmers, as well as the sea and coastal life. I used much of the COVID-19 period for painting and reading. I would sit at the canvas from 7 p.m. and the session would go on till 3 a.m. or so,” says Mr. Aswany Kumar.

Recurring in these paintings are intricate patterns made of fine lines and dots placed close to each other to form kaleidoscopic images. He attributes these to the patience he has gained as an art teacher, an experience which saw him shift from the surrealistic paintings of his younger days to more realistic works now. While a majority of these acrylic paintings are in colour, a few are done using black ink. A couple of paintings are based on patterns he saw in bones and x-rays while he was admitted to the hospital for a surgery.

Regular exhibitions

An alumnus of the Government Fine Arts College here, he has been an art teacher for 23 years at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and has taken part in exhibitions at the State and national levels. For about ten years, he had taken a break from painting anything personally, even though he continued with his teaching stint. Since 2015, he has been regularly exhibiting his works in the State and outside. Now, he balances his time between online art classes for his students and his own painting experiments. The exhibition concludes on February 20.

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