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‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art

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Mangaluru: In a time where the so called abstract has redefined modern day art, walking into Veena Srinivas’ exhibition of Kaavi art- ‘Kaaveenayana’ where mythological characters were brought to life on canvas was a pleasant and refreshing change.

Well, many might wonder what ‘Kaavi’ art is all about, for this is surely something that is unheard of before.
Kaavi Kale is a traditional art form that is characteristic of the Saraswats of Goa and the Konkan Coast of Karnataka. The specialty of this art form is the unique melding of epics, legends and culture along with the floral designs in a pleasing linear effect in red patterns on the inner and outer walls of the temples in beautiful reddish-brown murals.

A wonderful peek into 16th century traditional art drawing inspiration from the Ramayan series based on Tulsidasa’s Ramcharithmanas was what Kaaveenayana was all about.
While the self-taught Kaavi artist attempts to recreate the magic of the lost traditional art is more than worthy of mention, the intention behind the work is what makes her deserving of the praise.

Love at first sight

Speaking to News Karnataka, Veena explains that it was love at first site for her seven-years-ago, when she chanced upon the exquisite Kaavi-Kale Mural paintings on the walls of Mahalasa Narayani Temple in Kumta. With this fascination came the desire to make people know about the uniqueness and sheer beauty of this art and not let it fade away as remnants of a lost generation.

“My first ever exhibition was a reproduction of the art that I saw in that temple. I worked on making replicas of the art I saw. After the positive response I received I realized that children or even adults for that matter today, are familiar with art works like madhubani but have no idea about the folk art of the coastal belt. That is when I decided that this beautiful art needs to be restored. I have to at least do my part in saving what I love and care about so dearly,” she says.
She makes attempts to save Kaavi Kale by visiting schools that invite her and conducts workshops for children so as to “pass on a legacy to the next generation”.

Granites and Marbles shouldn’t be all we have to show when people from other countries visit us and ask us what is special about our coastal belt, she firmly believes. “This is an art from the 16th century and we need to pride ourselves in it”, she feels.

The Golden Technique

While there is no documentation as to the technique followed in making a Kaavi artwork, Veena explains that according to the research work of late Krishnanand Kamath, which she has further studied in detail, the base for the painting was, in earlier times, made of limestone composed out of sea shells that were burnt and made into a powder which was then mixed with sand and jaggery. These were the only items easily available during the time, she explains.

After being preserved for about two weeks, the mixture was hand pounded, mixed with water and brought to the texture of butter. After being applied on the wall, it is left on the wall and on this moist base, the kaavi mud was embedded so as to set in. When the base is not too moist and neither too dry, an expert would etch the white lines on the base. After that the wall underwent curing for several days to set and solidify.
However, she explained that owing to the lack of availability of resources, the art work she has exhibited is made on canvas with synthetic colours and available materials so as to provide an apt representation of the same.

‘Sapthamathrikas’

Proving that her work is not merely representation of characters but requires an immense amount of study she proudly presents the intriguing piece, ‘Sapthamathrikas’ from Roopamandanam, a representation of the destruction of the Mahishasura. She interestingly explains how the piece requires the knowledge of the various weapons and vehicles of the Gods and Goddesses so as to understand the depth of this piece.

“This work not only represents the destruction of evil but talks about where Durga gets the power to do so from. There are seven different avatars- Brahmi, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Kumari, Varahi, Indrani and Chamunda. All of these are a part of this one piece. Hence it was immensely special to work on”, she says.

The other works that are worthy of mention included the Dashavathara, Suryamandala , Chandramandala and Krishnarjuna.

A humble attempt to reintroduce Kaavi Kale

The intricate detailing on the art work displayed in the city, spoke volumes of the earnest appeal to restore this beautiful folk art. Well, kudos to this wonderful attempt by Veena Srinivas who believes that her

work must inspire people to learn and involve in this kind of art because she paints, she says, ‘not to sell but to inspire’.

The exhibition of the Kaavi art at Prasad Art Gallery will close on January 12 2016 at 7pm. So art lovers of Mangaluru, what are you waiting for?

 

 

‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art
‘Kaaveenayana’: Veena Srinivas breathes new life into dying art

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