Rural idyll

Viswanath Kuttum tells stories without ending them, and his paintings place imagery in a unique context that is at once familiar and strange

Rural idyll

In his upcoming solo show too, titled ‘Songs from my homeland: A memoir of life and rituals’ and curated by Rahul Kumar, he takes us on a guided tour of his village. He makes us privy to his lived and imagined emotions. There are moments that are tranquil yet sombre, with sentiments of contemplation. He was born and brought up in the Andamans when the island state was still pristine, untouched by development. The everyday life, celebrations during festivals and weddings, rituals for death and birth – they all become his key references. He reminisces with nostalgia in his art. With this exhibition, he expresses what is truly his own, and unique to him. 

His paintings are monochromatic with a pale, yet restful background, evoking a sense of warmth of the pleasant weather of his village. The minimalist and uncluttered works also evoke the unpolluted air to which villagers are accustomed. He began to create images of his homeland with enthusiasm to convey its simplicity. The lifestyle may seem ‘backward’ but on closer inspection, its magical qualities are revealed. Rituals like animal slaughter, harvesting, prayers, are performed in his village as an ode to nature. Kuttum interprets the silent moments between the ‘characters’ in his frame: the unspoken words between the butcher and the animal; the emotions of the priest as he offers the hibiscus before performing the prayers; the imagined dialogue between man and plants before harvesting. He is interested in the in-betweenness and the transitional, one that is neither in the present nor in an imagined space. His paintings at the exhibition reflect a restless and emotionally heightened psyche.

Where: Shridharani Gallery

When: 2-9 September, 11 am to 8 pm

 

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Senior Sub Editor | + posts

Jayali Wavhal writes stories about gender, lifestyle, environment and civic issues.