On 1 January 2000, at the dawn of
the millenium, a 133 tall statute of Thiruvalluvar was
ceremonially unveiled at Kanyakumari. The height of the
statute symbolised the 133 chapters of the Thirukural.
This was also the occasion for an exhibition of 133
paintings - each depicting a chapter of the Kural and
painted by artists from Tamil Nadu.
Rediffusion on the Net reported on 29 January
"....R B Bhaskaran, the principal of Fine
Arts College, had the difficult task of co-ordinating
the artists and also painting one chapter. "The idea to
have an ancient poet's view of the world through the
eyes of contemporary artists is great. It really
surprised me to see people queuing up in Kanyakumari to
see the 133 paintings after the inauguration."
Adhimoolam, one of the most famous Tamil painters,
illustrated the first chapter. His work is the most
impressive of all. "As a Tamilian, I am familiar with
Valluvar and his kurals. Valluvar did not talk
about any particular race, religion, caste or
creed...he talked only about human beings.''
He believes that the kurals have a broader
appeal that transcends barriers of language, culture
and community. ''There is a kind of universality in his
writings. I had always felt that he belonged to the
world and not to the Tamilians alone.''
Adhimoolam said it was quite a challenge to
create something that would match Valluvar's work. ''He
was such a great poet... it is very difficult to match
his ideas with illustrations. His thoughts and words
are beyond illustration. Yet, I have put my heart and
mind to it. As I was given the first chapter, I was to
paint his concept of God. He referred to God as
Almighty like the first letter in the alphabet, Aah. As
an artist who lives in the 21st century, I feel
fortunate to have painted his ideas."
Achuthan Kudaloor, an abstract artist from Kerala,
was assigned the second chapter -- Rain. Some time
back, Achuthan had thought of illustrating the works of
Malayalam poet, Kumaran Asan, but the idea was scoffed
at by his fellow artistes. "See how effective these
paintings on Thirukkural are. What I liked about
Thiruvalluvar was that he stood for humanity and not
for any race or religion. I feel happy that I, an
abstract painter, could be a part of this venture."
S Dhanapal, although was familiar with Thirukkural,
thought about the chapter he had to illustrate for two
days. "One must know what each kural actually
means because you can interpret each idea at various
levels. If you have to go deep into it, you need deep
knowledge. I feel images are very good tools to make
ordinary people understand the meaning of
Thiruvallular's ideas. After doing one painting, I feel
like doing more on Thirukkural."
Ravi Shankar, who is trying to explore new vistas in
painting with the help of computers, attempted a new
experiment. "I did a computer drawing and then used
acrylic emulsion in the printer and took a 4ft/3ft
print. The only grievance I have is that I was not
given adequate time to work. "
Sajitha decided to look at the meaning behind the
kurals from a critic's point of view. "I was
given the chapter on love. It is amazing that a man who
lived thousands of years ago viewed love from such a
radical angle. I feel I am fortunate to have got a
chance to give expression to his ideas in colour."