For Hemalatha, art had always been an integral part of her life right from her childhood thanks to her father. “My father is an eminent artist and hence art was ingrained in me from the beginning”, says Hemalatha. “If anybody visited our home, I drew their portrait.” In 1991, Hemalatha received her Tamil Nadu state award at Lalit Kala Academy. Today, she is also the Executive Board Member of Progressive Painters’ Association at Cholamandal Artists’ Village.
During her youth, she used to visit the senior artists’ homes in the Cholamandal Artists’ village and worked on mediums like Batik, terracotta paintings, sculptures, etc.
Hemalatha reminisces, “In my school holidays, I had a great chance to watch closely the works of my father like metal works viz. Repousse work. It inspired me very much. I observed its techniques. Then I started to assist my father in it. Whenever I had doubts, my father cleared it. During my higher secondary, with my father’s guidance I gained practical knowledge in metal relief and after completing my graduation, I started doing metal reliefs on copper, sculptures and paintings as a full-time profession”.
“I started with small works initially”, says Hemalatha. “I drew a design on a piece of metal. It came out well and this inspired me. So I started to design and make some handicrafts, bowls, pendants, earrings. Then I started creating small miniatures like metal reliefs. My first miniature metal relief was Lord Ganesha, which was bought by a foreigner. Later I started to design relief works individually.”
She then started working on metal sculptures and developed her artistic ability further. “Though in the beginning it was difficult to make it out of copper, I did not give up. Then I started creating paintings,” she exclaims.
Metal sculpture is a part of our Indian tradition and all of our idols, temple pillars, doors, ceiling and walls are all made up of bronze with embossed work on it. She elaborates, “In this type of ancient technology I used to make sculptures in contemporary style. Actually, I want all my works to represent real images, but I don’t reproduce them exactly. I want an artistic expression out of them.”
Hemalatha was influenced by traditional folk art, African designs, tribal art and animals, birds, dancing fish. “I create mythological to abstract characters like Lord Ganesha, Krishna, Hanuman, human and common themes. I am always fascinated by the peacock. I also use enamels in my work. My works are always decorative,” she says.
“In sculpture, I do frontal sculptures and dimension works also. I never follow the same style, but explore them in different styles.
For the current show at Art World in the city, Hemalatha has exhibited 60 of her works along with 32 sculptures. The Bull, which is a 3-dimensional art work and a swinging brace are her most favourite.
The show concludes on September 14....