My works are expressions of my innermost feelings, my thought and my philosophy in life,"
says Gayatri (Ramachandran M) an artist, writer, film maker, cartoonist and Architect from Kerala.
A flying fish by the running water
THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, 14 Nov 2008 [ Written by Anjali Sircar ]
Gayatri’s story began when he discontinued his studies at a young age due to lack of money. He witnessed poverty all around and left his central Kerala village in search of a job. Travelling extensively through many states and earning his living from any work that he could lay his hands on helped give him courage to accept life as a challenge. He could write and had an eye for colour, and during this exploratory period studied privately and received an open stream graduation in literature. He wrote travelogues for Malayalam periodicals until he became a full-time painter.
Gayatri sketched as he travelled, picked up colours from study of the different landscapes he passed through but couldn’t complete any work. He would liken this period of his life to “a long episodic dream in which each section was a fresh attempt to make a symbolic structure, commenting on and pushing further.” There is a suggestion of a pilgrimage in his narrative, a man who passes through a barren land, and then a green pasture, climbs up the sleeping boulder on the hill and watches the flying fish sitting by the running water and each of these adventures are reshuffled in his works.
As a young artist , Gayatri M— his full name, found it true to his experience to incorporate as many different kinds of complexity as he could in his work. The fragmentary nature of his early pictures, the stylistic jumps and clues to further meanings, far from threatening the coherence of the paintings, provided an apt equivalent both to the diversity of modern culture and to the artist’s own background as a village boy transplanted into an urban set-up. In his recent works, particularly in the mixed media paintings, he has opted for a more direct and accessible approach.
Gayatri’s paintings achieve beauty and profundity because they are not primarily a rarefied record of visual data. Before the work is begun, there are often experiences which flash in the mind and leap into the genesis of the picture. Gayatri says: “In my works, I usually like to depict images of the Indian villages I have seen and travelled through. India is mainly an agricultural land, and majority of the population who are engaged in cultivation and live below the poverty line, particularly in the north and north-eastern parts of the country, have to put up with a feudal system. The condition of the farmer is almost equal to a slave. It is the duty of an artist to recognise this problem and bring it to the fore. I am trying to portray the image of these people who have no food, no house, no hope of employment outside the farmland. Those who are unable to cope with the circumstances are taking their own lives. Certainly these things should change.
“As an artist, I cannot change their lives, but I can address the problems of these marginalised people through my art, portray their agony and draw the attention of the society which is busy with globalisation, infrastructural development programmes, improvement of the environment and educational plans which are not reaching the vast sections of the Indian people.” In his latest series Beyond the Dreams, he brings about the mindless exploitation of his chosen people in three phases — Worries and Dreams, Myth and Dreams and Culture and Mythology. The ray of hope in the abandoned people turns into the promised land that they dream about. The artist has used folklore and tribal symbols to retain the identity of the people represented, and in the background terrorism and communal riots achieved new dimensions. Green-coloured women, red-coloured men, girls flying on fish, crows clinging to leaves, butterflies begging for life, dying coconut palms and cats turning into lifeless pots, produce a new idealogue and the simplicity and genuineness of the primary colours do not get washed away under the burden of the onrushing new culture.
Viewed retrospectively, the significance of a painting can change even for the artist because of the complex relationship between conscious intention and subconscious impulse, just as events in one’s life can be reinterpreted through recourse to memory and later experience. It is an issue that interests Gayatri greatly.
Gayatri, born in Guruvayur in 1958 (he signs as ‘Gayatri’ both his writings and paintings) has exhibited in important galleries in India, and his works have been acquired by art dealers and collectors abroad.
Born Guruvayur, Kerala, India
Travelled extensively all over India from the childhood. Lived with untouchables and laborers in various parts. Studied the life styles of marginalized people. Worked as a freelance Architect of low-cost construction theory and made more than hundred houses to dwell poor society.
Kerala Lalit Kala Academy Award 1976.
National award from Mahakoshal Kala Parishad, MP 1986.
Landsmen Award, Switzerland 1986.
Punjab Blood bank Society Award 1987.
Kerala Sahitya academy 1996.
Khasak award 1996.
Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai 2011.
Nehru Centre Art Gallery, Mumbai 2009.
Art Entrance Gallery, Mumbai 2008.
Jehangir Art Gallery,Mumbai 2007.
Rossitta Art Gallery Cochin 2006.
Lalit Kala Academy Gallery,Cochin 2005.
Lalit Kala Academy Gallery,Calicut 2005.
Jehangir Art Gallery,Mumbai 2000.
Lalit Kala Academy gallery, Delhi 1998.
Jehangir Art Gallery,Mumbai 1998.
Leela Art Gallery,Mumbai 1998.
Chitram Art Gallery, Cochin 1996.
Museum Gallery ,Trivandrum 1996.
Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai 1996.
Taj Art Gallery,Mumbai 1994.
Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai 1994.
Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai 1992.
Bajaj Art Gallery, Mumbai 1990.
Lalit Kala Academy Gallery, Calicut 1990.
Chitram Art Gallery, Ernakulam – 1986.
Lalitkala Academy Gallery, Kochi 1982.
Museum Gallery ,Trivandrum 1980.
Hotel Elite International,Guruvayur 1977.
Confluence des Arts at Gallery Artchill, Amber Fort, Jaipur 2013.
Kerala Art Fair,Vylopilli Samskriti Bhavan,Trivandrum 2012.
Kerala Lalit Kala Academy annual show 2010,2011,2012.
“Fusion” , Nehru Centre, Mumbai 2009.
Lalit Kala Academy annual show 2007.
Gallery Artchill, Amber Fort, Jaipur 2008.
Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur 2007.
Gallery Hues, Bangalore 2007.
Heritage Art Gallery, Chennai 1997.
Affordable Art Gallery, Mumbai 1996.
Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai 1994.
Annual show, Chitrakala Parishad ,Thrissur 1983.
South Indian art exhibition,VTI, Madras 1982.
Kerala Lalit Kala Academy annual show-1976 to 1982.
Ravi Varma memorial exhibition, Museum Dept. Kerala 1981.
National exhibition Mahakoshal Kala Parishad 1981,82,83.
Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy’s Sponsored show, Madras 1980.
Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy’s Sponsored show, New delhi 1977.
Aranyakam, an art dealing group cochin , in association with hotel Taj Malabar Cochin conducted
an auction of ten paintings on February 5th and 6th 2007. It was the first art auction in Kerala.
Published numerous studies on art and literature . Written Dramas and screen plays. Published 8 books also in Malayalam.
Directed short films, plays. Acted in plays. Designed numerous architectures.
The media like Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindu, On Looker,
The Sunday Observer, Woman’s Era, Vanitha, and numerous regional publications written about works sparingly.