Expo by Ravi Varma's descendant in Bengaluru from tomorrow

Expo by Ravi Varma's descendant in Bengaluru from tomorrow

 After a hiatus of nearly 35 years, classical artist Rukmini Varma is back with a solo exhibition.

The great-great-granddaughter of Raja Ravi Varma will display the collection titled ‘Opulence and Eternity’ from January 20 to February 19 at `gallery g’ on Lavelle Road.  
Rukmini, born as Princess Bharani Tirunal Rukmini Bayi Tampuran of Travancore state, is a self-taught artist and her paintings are known for their opulence and depiction of human forms.

In 1981, her nude paintings displayed at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, attracted large crowds and controversy as well.

The present series has nine paintings covering the Chera, Chola, Pandya and Hoysala dynasties. A painting titled ‘The Emperor’s Proposition’ depicts Vishnuvardhana, king of the Hoysalas taking Shantala, the dancer, by surprise and declaring his affection for her.

During her long break, Rukmini explored spirituality and focused on introspection.

“I painted less in this period. I was almost like a sanyasi doing tapas, fasting and meditating,” she said. It was only when Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation was started in 2015 that she broke out of her spiritual mode.

“I always wanted to do something for my great-great-granddaughter’s legacy. When the opportunity presented itself to start the foundation, I felt like he was reaching out to me,” she said.

Rukmini always knew her legendary ancestor as ‘artist appoopen (grandfather)’. “Raja Ravi Varma was always a familiar figure and his ambience was always there when I was growing up,” she said.

Rukmini had several unfinished canvases at home and it was only when Gitanjali Maini, CEO of the foundation, insisted that she began working on them again. Though she has not had an exhibition since 1982, Rukmini had never stopped painting.

“It is like eating or breathing to me. I have made several paintings based on my spiritual experiences during this period which are different from my usual style. Maybe, I will consider exhibiting them some time,” she said.

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