Next up we have a mural I personally feel is one of my best to date and it's all thanks to a call from Lini Susan Ji. After a very brief call and introduction to the project, I was off designing.
A nice panorama of the mural at Idukki Gold
As you can see from the picture below, this mural was aimed at incorporating as many quint essential elements of Malayalam and Kerala culture as possible. Snake boats, Kathakali, Mahabali, Sadhya - if it's in Kerala, it's in this mural.
The drawing that served as the starting point for this mural
Though it would take too long to dive into all the elements incorporated in this piece - I thought it would be interesting to examine a few. Let's Start with Kathakali.
A major form of Classical Indian Dance, its roots can be traced to at least the 1st millenium CE. A Kathakali performance utilizes music, vocal performers, choreography, martial arts, and hand and facial gestures together to express ideas. Folk stories, religious lore, spiritual ideology and Hindu Puranas are all themes within a Kathakali performance.
Shree Krishnan in Kathakali
Next let's look at Chundan Vallam or Snake Boats. Used in the Vallamkali boat race, these boats are 100 - 138 feet in length and built according the Sthapatya Veda (ancient Indian architectural design texts).
Vallamkali boat race
Now getting back to the art, this was the first time I painted large portraits that were decorated in face paint. Albeit ever-so-slightly intimated at first, I knew the allure of creating a beautiful South Indian mural for mere dost would make this a stand out piece.
Some of the subtle touches such as gold on Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple or the ropse strung across the Chenda Melam help add that extra touch of life to this piece.
Close up of Kathakali, Mahabali and Puliyoor Kali Theyyam with
Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the background
As you can clearly see, this mural is incredibly rich in Malayalam culture, history and heritage. Given the large portraits and dynamic imagery of the sketch I was given to base my mural off of, I had no doubt this was going to be an amazing project.
Though I stay in touch, I do wish the best for Lini Ji and the gang and sincerely hope they get the opportunity to open a larger location where I can top this mural with an even better one.
Until I write again,