“These,” says Rajkumar, “are people I've observed during the course of my life in Pollachi”. That he's observed them at length shines through in every single work. The wrinkles, crinkle of the eyes, half a smile and the fold of the garment is so life-like, you almost reach out to touch them.
In the festival series, the artist uses his craft to preserve for posterity traditional festivals celebrated in the rural heartland, full of pomp, splendour and rustic charm. “They've become so few, and far between. At this rate, the future generations might not even know about these celebrations. I wanted to capture them before they disappeared,” says Rajkumar, who specialises in profiling people and events on watercolours, a medium normally used to portray landscapes.
He's a master with light and shade too — the proof lies in his ‘Veyil' series. The works displayed at the show provide a sneak peek into the Dutch area in Fort Kochi. Do notice the broken lamp that dangles from a post; the cycles carelessly leaning against the wall; and the goats bathed in sunlight walking through a narrow lane.
Among Rajkumar's favourite works is the one featuring a family of four on a TVS 50. Amid swirls of exhaust fumes, you see a sense of purpose in the parents' face. The younger child rests her cheek on her sister's arms, looking yearningly at something — an ode to small-town India.The works, priced between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 70,000, are on display at the Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery, Avanashi Road.