‘Lokame Tharavadu’ a contemporary art show currently on at Alappuzha at multiple heritage venues, has come as a shot in the arm for the artistic community, especially with the raging pandemic which left their artistic talent jaded.
The show curated by artist and Kochi Biennale Foundation president Bose Krishnamachari features the works of 267 artists who trace their roots to Kerala and by scale is considered to be the biggest art event to be held in India.
The individual art works number well over 3000, presenting a unique opportunity for art enthusiasts and connoisseurs to experience the richness and diversity of the art of contemporary Malayali artists.
With the state going through very difficult times on account of the surging Covid cases, extreme caution is being taken at the event which includes registration at the Covid-19 Jagratha portal of the state government and availing passes only after uploading a RT-PCR negative certificate or Covid-19 vaccination proof.
“‘Lokame Tharavadu’ has a staggering number of highly talented and dedicated artists, some of them with out of the box thinking,” says Radha Gomaty, a participating artist in the show.
Many of these artists, she said, are not on the gallery grid and often miss out on any kind of security or standard of life from their art, and have to keep doing other things to make ends meet.
“To learn that they continue in their dedicated pursuit of art despite these odds is something that is amazing. There might be historical, cultural reasons that contributed to this kind of flourishing number of practitioners,” said Gomaty.
T R Upendranath, another artist, said he was sceptical of the show initially.
“But when I made a visit, my perception changed altogether. The way the works have been displayed and the effort that has gone behind it felt like magic to me. The awareness that so many artists are working in different styles was inspiring and some of the works are enough to invoke a sense of jealousy,” said Upendranath, who is exhibiting a series of drawings in the show.
He feels that anyone from outside the state who visits the show would be stunned by its range and scale.
“I am glad that an attempt has been made to bring as many people as possible under one umbrella. I do hope that this process goes on and helps create a permanent platform that can enable a global appreciation of what Malayali artists have been doing,” said Gomaty and praised the efforts of Bose who has included 56 women artistes.
“I am sure this show will create powerful ripples and set the bar high for the future growth of art in the state. I feel a tinge of sadness that it’s happening when the pandemic situation has again turned worse but the message of the show, The World Is One Family, seems more relevant than ever,” said Manoj Vyloor, a participating artist and principal, Fine Arts College, Thiruvananthapuram.