A centuries-old art form popular in Kerala has struck a chord in a resident of Tirupur — Sushila Prakash has not only been practicing mural painting in the Kerala style for the last 17 years, but she has also been organising exhibitions and workshops to popularise it.
It was in 2003 that Sushila was introduced to this fine art. She attended a week-long training camp conducted by Krishnakumar, Principal of the Institute of Mural Painting, Guruvayoor, and a master of the art form. She was immediately hooked to this style of painting.
“I was attracted to the colours used in the murals on the walls of temples. At the training session, we were taught to use natural pigments, in the Kerala tradition”, she says. “Kerala mural painting is also known as pachavarna,a reference to the five basic colours — yellow, red, green, white and black - that are used”, she explains. “Working with these tests your mettle as it takes a lot of effort to mix them to achieve the correct shades and textures. In recent years, acrylic paints are being widely used and I am experimenting with it too”, Sushila adds.
Traditionally, the Kerala murals featured Gods and Goddesses, and the figures were based on Shilpa Shastra (the umbrella term for ancient Indian books on the arts and the rules governing them), Sushila explains. But today, artists depict modern themes, and the figures are appropriately modern though some elements remain true to Shilpa Shastra. “Changes are happening, but mostly, the basics remain the same”, she says.
An advocate by profession, Sushila conducts mural painting workshops in cities such as Chennai, Mumbai and Tirupur to popularize the art. She says there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the art form, as seen in the response to her workshops. Based on that, “I can say the future of mural art is bright and colourful”, she avers.
Sushila is gearing to hold her two-day workshop at Writer’s Cafe in Gopalapuram starting on 25th....