Inspired by Kerala's protectors of forests

Brush strokes

Inspired by Kerala's protectors of forests

In a concrete jungle like Delhi, if you wish to experience the lush greenery and tranquil life of forests, then visiting Keraliite artist KG Babu’s latest exhibition is a must.

Babu’s paintings on the tribals of the beautiful state, aptly titled ‘In Spirit With Nature,’ is on display at Gallery NIV, Neb Sarai.

Babu has lived in Varandarappilly- a village on the outskirts of a forest in Kerala most of his life, deriving inspiration for his art.

A few years back, he went to Dubai for work but came back when he started missing the beauty of his hometown’s forests. At present, he lives in Varandarappilly and continues to paint the natural beauty of his state.

The tribals, who he would observe going about ritual chores, became the subject of his artistic fascination some time back.

Tribal men, women and children working in harmony with nature, and with an unmistakable contempt for city-dwellers, provided him an ideal subject.

He has given them large expressive eyes, their hair and clothing betraying their tribal origin and a backdrop thick woods and colourful flowers.

The end product being paintings which anyone can mistake for fine photography at first glance.

Babu says, “Even though the tribals have a strong dislike for urbanites, they accepted my intrusion into their area as I had lived in their neighbourhood for long.

I stayed with them for short durations, took their pictures and came back and painted with these photographs as my inspiration. I rarely took liberties with the natural backdrop, the physical features of the tribals and the colours. As a result of this, my paintings look very similar to photographs.”

He adds, “It is amazing how, with the increasing penetration of modernisation in our society, we are fast losing our morals, ethics and culture.

On the other hand, these tribals have preserved their culture, shielded it from outside influence and retain the traditions which their forefathers practiced thousands of years ago.”

“There is a lot to learn from them. They know how to respect nature and live with it in harmony. We have forgotten this art. It is time we revived it for a peaceful and joyful life.”

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