Thirukural of Thiruvalluvar]
On 1 January 2000, at the dawn of the
millenium, a 133 tall statute of Thiruvalluvar was ceremonially unveiled
at Kanyakumari. The height of the statute symbolised the 133 chapters of
the Thirukural. This was also the occasion for an exhibition of 133
paintings - each depicting a chapter of the Kural and painted by artists
from Tamil Nadu.
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B Bhaskaran, the principal of Fine Arts College, had the difficult task
of co-ordinating the artists and also painting one chapter. "The idea to
have an ancient poet's view of the world through the eyes of
contemporary artists is great. It really surprised me to see people
queuing up in Kanyakumari to see the 133 paintings after the
Adhimoolam, one of the most famous Tamil painters, illustrated the
first chapter. His work is the most impressive of all. "As a Tamilian, I
am familiar with Valluvar and his kurals. Valluvar did not talk
about any particular race, religion, caste or creed...he talked only
about human beings.''
He believes that the kurals have a broader appeal that
transcends barriers of language, culture and community. ''There is a
kind of universality in his writings. I had always felt that he belonged
to the world and not to the Tamilians alone.''
said it was quite a challenge to create something that would match
Valluvar's work. ''He was such a great poet... it is very difficult to
match his ideas with illustrations. His thoughts and words are beyond
illustration. Yet, I have put my heart and mind to it. As I was given
the first chapter, I was to paint his concept of God. He referred to God
as Almighty like the first letter in the alphabet, Aah. As an artist who
lives in the 21st century, I feel fortunate to have painted his ideas."
Achuthan Kudaloor, an abstract artist from Kerala, was assigned the
second chapter -- Rain. Some time back, Achuthan had thought of
illustrating the works of Malayalam poet, Kumaran Asan, but the idea was
scoffed at by his fellow artistes. "See how effective these paintings on
Thirukkural are. What I liked about Thiruvalluvar was that he stood for
humanity and not for any race or religion. I feel happy that I, an
abstract painter, could be a part of this venture."
S Dhanapal, although was familiar with Thirukkural, thought about the
chapter he had to illustrate for two days. "One must know what each
kural actually means because you can interpret each idea at various
levels. If you have to go deep into it, you need deep knowledge. I feel
images are very good tools to make ordinary people understand the
meaning of Thiruvallular's ideas. After doing one painting, I feel like
doing more on Thirukkural."
Ravi Shankar, who is trying to explore new vistas in painting with
the help of computers, attempted a new experiment. "I did a computer
drawing and then used acrylic emulsion in the printer and took a 4ft/3ft
print. The only grievance I have is that I was not given adequate time
to work. "
Sajitha decided to look at the meaning behind the kurals from a critic's point of view. "I was given the chapter on love. It is
amazing that a man who lived thousands of years ago viewed love from
such a radical angle. I feel I am fortunate to have got a chance to give
expression to his ideas in colour."