Friday, 1 March 2013

Mural Paintings of Kerala

Nothing exhibits India's cultural heritage as distinctively as art. Indian mural paintings are very interesting in the sense that while the themes are almost always the same: stories from Puranas,  the actual paintings themselves are distinct to each region or State.

The mural paintings in Tanjavoor for instance, have their own charm and characteristic style. Unfortunately, I missed 2 different opportunities to learn the Tanjavoor style due to other commitments.

When I learnt that Kerala too had it own wonderful style, I signed up for classes and started scouting around for pictures. We have been in Trivandrum for almost 3 yrs now and I never got around to visiting the Padmanabaswamy temple, until someone told me that the temple has beautiful murals.

I finally visited the temple today and loved every aspect of it. No cameras or mobiles phones are allowed inside. So, within the premises but for the electricity, there are absolutely no reminders of the pollution filled modern world out there. You are transported to another era!

And the murals! They are to die for! Even though I have seen several pictures of this style, the actual paintings leave me speechless with wonder. The temple and the paintings have left me with a yearning for a lot of time, my sketch pad and my camera. I may go back with paper and pencil to copy the motifs the next time and hope it's allowed.

The picture below gives you an idea of what the style is like - but it is nowhere near the actual murals in execution and use of colour. Click on the picture for a larger image.

This is the website of Mural artist Suresh Muthukulam. He has allowed modern art to sneak into his murals.  If you are looking for Original Kerala Mural paintings, this is not the place for you.

This link describes how the wall is prepared for painting.

Here is another link giving a detailed description of the process of mural paintings in Kerala, the brushes and colours that were traditionally used.

The next link is to the website of Mural Artist Sadanandan - he underwent an intensive 5 year training in Mural painting. If you the kind of person who likes art  retained in its traditional form, you will be disappointed. If however, you like morden flavours creeping in, you'll love this.

To round off this post, this link has links to all prominent pages featuring mural painting.

Have a nice time browsing!  I'll be back with more pictures.

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