Impressions of a Madras gone by

After a day’s break, I was back into the thick of things during Madras Week. I decided to visit Lakshmy Venkataraman’s Gallery Sri Parvati on Eldams Road where an exhibition titled ‘Madras Impressions: 18th-20th century’ has been on the past week and will go on for another.

The artist P. Krishnamurthy’s sketches are based on his memories of the Madras of his youth as well as on impressions he has gathered over the years from his research for historic films.

An alumnus of the College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai (1960- 66), P. Krishnamurthy is a contemporary of veterans like Adimoolam, Bhaskaran, Vasudev and Viswanadan. He has been a passionate painter dealing with esoteric themes like yoga. Being associated with music and dance since childhood, they too have a strong influence on him.

Krishnamurthy was closely associated with theatre some years ago and his close friends circle included people like Girish Karnad, Karanth, Gopalie and Na Muthuswamy. It was purely by accident that G.V. Iyer invited him to do the art direction for his film Hamsa Geethe in 1972. Since then he has done art direction for numerous films and documentaries and received several state awards for art direction and costumes – from Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as well as five Natural Awards.

Though he hails from Poompuhar, Madras has been his home for five decades.

This exhibition, like the ones at the CP Art Centre and Rajaji Hall, is worth going to. Sample some of Krishnamurthy’s works above and I'm sure you will be tempted.


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