City lady revives a unique, dying art

 few Kavi art works produced by Artist Veena Srinivas (

In an initiative to preserve and promote this less known art and to make it known to the outside world, city based artist Veena Srinivas has tried her hands to reproduce the Kavi art on paper.The records reveal that the origin of Kavi art dates back to 16th century. This unique form of art was sculpted on the walls of the temple shrines mostly worshipped by Saraswath community members. The original ‘Kavi Kale’ painting was a lengthy process where the mixture of white lime, sand from the river beds, powdered sea shells and jaggery were used to form a layer on which ‘Ura manju’ (Kavi red colour) was painted.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Veena Srinivas said that she drew inspiration for painting Kavi art on paper from the walls of Mahalasa Narayani temple in Kumta. “The walls of Mahalasa temple were so beautifully designed with Kavi art which stimulated me to reproduce the same on paper. I clicked the photos of the murals and reproduced them on paper. Though Kavi paint on paper does not give the same effect of mural paintings displayed in temples, I opted to experiment on the same as it would at least draw the attention of the people towards a unique but dying art,” she says. She has painted 12 art pieces exclusively based on ‘Kavi Kale’ which includes paintings of Dashavathara, Lakshminarayana, Lakshminarasimha, Hanumantha etc on paper using water colour.

Hardly any attempts have been made so far by the artists in this part of the region to reproduce ‘Kavi Kale’ on papers. Veena will be displaying the paintings in the art exhibition ‘Glimpses’ at Prasad Art Gallery from December 6 to December 9.

An artist with lot of curiosity, Veena has also painted quite a few arts on the tribal communities of Honnavar. These paintings too will be displayed at the exhibition.
Veena said that it was during her visit to the villages of Honnavar for studying the life of tribals for the purpose of painting, that she happened to visit Mahalasa temple. The visit inspired her to make an extensive study on ‘Kavi Kale’ which was later reproduced on papers. She hopes that the painting would interest the public, thus some attempts could be made in future to save this art form. Veena has also plans to try ‘Kavi Kale’ on murals following the exhibition.

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