The Madras touch

Updated: Jul 07, 2019, 08:26 IST | A Correspondent

Madras Modern brings together works from the seminal Madras Art Movement to the city

The Madras touch
An abstract by MS Murthy

In the mid-1960s, the artists of Madras, some of the finest hands in the country, were exploring their roots. Encouraged by two principals of Madras School of Arts and Crafts, DP Roy Chowdhury and KCS Paniker, they crafted a language of their own, which came to be known as the Madras Art Movement.

"They come under the [same] umbrella, but it's a very heterogeneous group. Each had a distinct style," says Ashrafi Bhagat, the former HOD of the fine arts department at Stella Maris College, in Chennai. "Paniker and [sculptor] S Dhanapal felt that one had to go to the regional traditions. There was a nativist ideology, which derived inspiration from the art and craft forms and looked at India's pictorial and plastic visual traditions."

Curator Ashrafi Bhagat
Curator Ashrafi Bhagat

The core group of the students also hailed from rural areas. "They came with their own cultural baggage of sights, sounds, festivals and other aspects. When the nativist ideology was proposed and argued, and reinvented and reinterpreted by the artist to a modern sensibility, these were the artists who could completely relate to it. As a result, though there is a thread of commonality, there is also a distinct difference between how each approached it."

At DAG this month, about 60 such paintings and prints will be on display, along with 15 sculptures, by artists such as KV Haridasan, V Viswanadhan, Achuthan Kudallur, SG Vasudev, J Sultan Ali and others. While classifying their works, Bhagat, who is also the curator, says, "Vasudev's works are based on literary traditions and the local poets, whereas Haridasan's and Vishwanathan's traditions were inspired from the yantras."

Where: DAG, 58, Kala Ghoda, Fort; 49222700
When: July 20 to October 12; 11 AM to 7 PM

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