EC ban on posters hits painters' livelihood

For several decades, 75-year-old K G Venkatesan in Tamil Nadu has brought to life on walls political stalwarts. It takes just 15 minutes for him to paint a lively 15-foot portrait of Dravidian party founder C N Annadurai while drawing portraits of Kamaraj and M G Ramachandran (MGR) is a cakewalk.

He gets a flood of such assignments during elections. But with the Election Commission cracking the whip on graffiti, polls are no more a bonanza for painters like him.

According to Tamil Nadu Artist Association, (TNAA) about 2 lakh painters are rendered jobless and their families were in trouble. “Till last Parliament elections, I used to get regular orders from various political parties. But I could not get anything this time, said Venkatesan, who began painting at the age of 17.

“During the 2009 elections, the Election Commission was not that strict. That polls fetched a lot of money to many-a-poor artists across the state. But their families are suffering without job since they can’t get alternative jobs”, said TNAA general secretary P Krishna.

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