No hidden meanings to fire

His paintings narrate stories of animals ousted from their habitat for a process known as ‘progress.’ But if you start filtering those images, you can unlock layers and hidden meanings which do not remain confined to wildlife. And hence, consequences of this violence are encountered in our day-to-day life.

A work of Vasudevan Akkitham on display at the exhibit ‘Grid of Fire.’

Presenting such a picture of growing modern world, Vasudevan Akkitham, has come up with his exhibition in the national capital after a gap of six years. Titled ‘Grid of Fire’ – the paintings are a reflection of losing our natural wealth and what happens to animals on the verge of extinction. “I do not look at these paintings literally. For me they symbolize a kind of system which is being erased in the process known as progress,” says Vasudevan.

Using architectural elements in a form of geometrical structures to represent urban India, Vasudevan says he has used animals as protagonist to tell a bigger story. “My paintings do not limit themselves to protection of wildlife but also tell us what humans are also going through in the changing scenario. Like an explosion not only shows animals running helter-skelter but also shares the violence we come across in our life,’’ says Vasudevan, who is also the HoD, Fine Arts at MS University, Baroda.

“If you look at my work, I don’t think there is any kind of complication in terms of understanding the subject of the image. They are very simple, and I like to work with simple images, which I find more mysterious,” says Vasudevan.

Explaining a work called ‘Visitor’, the expert states, “What you see is a multi-storeyed building which is under construction and an aeroplane taking off. It definitely gives you an idea that it is a city. Then you have a blackbuck which is walking into it and there is a small hill as well. This can become something more than what they appear to be but at the same time anyone can relate to them because there are no hidden meanings.”

Vasudevan has presented his thoughts on canvas with water colours, oils and acrylics. Each painting represents a different set of problems. Take for instance, ‘Explosion.’ “You read about bombing of places and death. I don’t want to deal with the issue in a direct way. I have to find an indirect reference. So I have shown animals in all directions,” the artist says.

Interestingly, this also depicts how humans have used violence as a means to make animals leave their territories and now are also facing similar problems of displacement from their own lands owing to a variety of reasons – ranging from terrorism to riots.
The exhibition will continue till October 20 at Indian Habitat Centre.

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