Store honours artistes, writers

Richwood Furniture in Basaveshwara Nagar displays portraits of distinguished Kannadigas

A furniture store takes pride in its unusual decor: its walls are lined with portraits of distinguished Kannadigas.

G V Swamy, owner of Richwood Furniture and Interiors in Basaveshwara Nagar, has put up portraits of all seven Jnanpith awardees, besides actors, musicians and other distinguished people from Karnataka.

It all began in 2010. Swamy was not a literature buff but his friend Anjan, a Telugu, loved Kannada literature. “The fact that we are turning a blind eye towards our own language and embracing foreign culture hit me hard,” says Swamy, who decided to do something about it.

He had seen Vidyarthi Bhavan, the restaurant in Gandhi Bazar, and its collection of pencil portraits paying tribute to Kannada writers.  “This is our language. If we don’t embrace it, who will?” says Swamy.

Sridhar, an artist, once visited the store to sell his paintings. Impressed by his work, Swamy asked him if he could draw sketches of Kannada laureates.

“All these paintings are by Sridhar. He has been my pillar of support for 10 years. Our love towards the language gave us the strength to pursue this,” says Swamy.

For Swamy, English is necessary, but he can’t understand how some people give in completely and forget their own culture.

“The ‘Kannad gotilla’ crowd is everywhere in Bengaluru. That is sad because from D V Gundappa’s Mankutimmana Kagga verses to Poornachandra Tejaswi’s terse prose, we have answers to everything in our literature. We just have to open our eyes and look,” he says.

Swamy’s customers wonder if he is an artist. When he tells them the idea behind the decor, they appreciate his work. In recent weeks, the store has collected funds for relief in flood-ravaged Kodagu.

The store displays 38 photos and hand-drawn portraits, including those of Gangubai Hangal, M D Nanjundaswamy, Rajkumar, Ambareesh, Gubbi Veeranna, K S Nissar Ahmed , P Kalinga Rao and Puttanna Kanagal. The store may be contacted on 98451 77364.

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