T. Vaikuntam’s paintings are easily recognisable because of their hallmark portrayal of women and men from rural Telangana decked up in traditional attires and rendered in flamboyant palette. Strikingly, the present show unveils an unknown extent of his work manifested in some drawings, charcoal and oil works done by him during the 1980s.
A part of the Kalakriti collection these drawings were recently shown at India Art Fair, New Delhi. “We got an overwhelming response for these works at IAF, which is rightly called the ‘mecca’ for art lovers and connoisseurs. These drawings are selected from the collection of works by the artist that we accumulated over the years and which we cherish,” says Rekha Lahoti of Kalakriti Art Gallery.
Vaikuntam’s artistic oeuvre has forever drawn inspiration from his rustic roots and rural connection. He recalls that decades back when his teacher K.G. Subramanyan said, “Do what is in your story,” he took his words very seriously and worked in sync with them. These drawings unravel the very core of his creative impetus from where his later work evolved. Line plays a prominent role in his work. These works take one back to the time when his ‘line’ gradually detoured from being representational to becoming highly personalised and stylistically individualistic. Exploring every aspect and corner of the village life these visual notes manifest still life, portraits, detailed study of hand movements and drapery, each rendered with a marked dedication and vigour.
Noteworthy is a set of limited edition bronze sculptures casted in London foundry (from the artist’s collection) that are also exhibited in the show. The busts and full figures of the beloved village folk are like three dimensional versions of his popular works on canvas. Interestingly, the show also contains some of his old abstract works done on paper with oil pastels. Completely in contrast with the genre and style he is popular for, these works give the local art lovers a rare opportunity to witness the artist’s hitherto unseen creative dimension.