Artist Natraj is exhibiting a series of his works in a solo show titled The wonderful enchanted fantasy at the Apparao Gallery in Chennai this month. Ever since he graduated in fine arts from JNAFAU, Hyderabad, followed by another course at the Chitrakala Parishat in Bangalore, Natraj has been consistently weaving visual tales that bring forth socio-political, environmental as well as personal anecdotes from a creatively charged stance.
Fantasy has always been the artist’s favourite genre to represent serious thoughts in light-hearted, veiled, ironical and surreal tones. The weightless, free-flowing and gravity-defying figures, animals and flora create an effervescent experience for the viewers. The visual versions of his thoughts convert every reality, shortcoming and binding of the real world into unbounded physical and metaphysical elements. They bring forth, in vibrant colour palettes, the oneness of human beings and natural elements while discussing the latent conventions that reign over modern-city life.
Take for example, one of the huge canvases, an untitled work that depicts a trail of white monkeys climbing a tree with one man in between them. The artwork, in a fable-like manner, brings forth a trait embossed deeply in urban culture — the race to be successful and reach the top. A number of tapering mountains surround the tree; each contains a house at the peak. These abodes are disconnected from one another and thus signify a kind of solo existence that distances a person from loved ones and friends.
Throughout the body of Natraj’s work, there is an indirect connection with and inspiration from traditional Indian miniature paintings, especially in the manner in which he breaks the space and in the linear depiction of the flora and fauna. The artist says, “My work contains hidden content, not obvious but certainly there is an undercurrent. There are references and observations about our social structure. And, at the same time there are many personal experiences as well.”...