Interview Of The Week: Sasikumar S : Educating An Art-Illiterate State
On Aug 18, 2012
While Kerala was on a fast lane towards achieving total literacy, there was also an imperceptible fall in the literacy rate among the population, towards understanding and appreciating art. The advent of technology has spelled doom for many traditional forms of art. Painting comes in as one among them. Being a 'painter by birth', as he would like to address himself, Sasikumar Shangrila is one artist who is deeply worried by the illiteracy of the modern population when it comes to art.
“There are two reasons which deteriorated the popularity and value of painting among the modern generation – one is their overexposure to cheap replicas of true art that have been made available in the market for the sole intention of making money,” says the seasoned painter, in an interview with Yentha. “The other is the lack of adequate space for bringing the works of genuine artists to the attention of the public.”
Shangrila Art Gallery, started by Sasikumar Shangrila, was one of the first galleries exclusively meant for painting exhibitions in the city. His own painting exhibition, 'Yet Another Pilgrimage' being held at Alliance Francaise, is the expression of the inspirations that the artist had gone through over the years.
“But to express it with the utmost amount of justice, you need to have a 'guru' residing inside you,” explains Sasikumar. “That teacher is all your experience, the result you gained from your quest for knowledge and the higher truth over the years. It is this teacher that will decide on the strokes and colours for expressing the feeling that has been evoked inside you.”
However, the triumph of the creator does not come with the materialisation of his creation alone; every work of art is made to be accepted and appreciated by the common masses.
“The greatest thrill you receive is when you stand and watch the various thoughts that flash through the face of the observer. The greatest contribution that you can make to the world as an artist is in making people think higher and have their perceptions get more refined in nature.”
The artist and his work
Sasikumar has one advice to those who aspire to become painters – paint!
“You can never afford to stop painting, you can never afford to become tired and you can never afford to get bored. It is when you think you have reached the limit, the absolute end of your physical and mental ability, that something new will emerge and you grow up in stature as an artist.”
It is no secret that artists in general are characterised by the struggles and revolts that they have had to wage both against the world around him and with himself. History bears mute witness to the fact that the struggles taking place within the artist only grow more resilient and intense with the acquiring of a name, fame and more knowledge.
Sasikumar knows why he still loves to paint and why he will always continue to love it; despite the constant struggle he endures living in a society numb to art, even while being an accomplished painter.
“It is the freedom that you enjoy while being involved in creativity,” he says. “You are in control of the world that you are formingshan on the canvas. There is no one else involved and certainly no limitations to where and how far I can go. I find this craving for true freedom as the one thing that has made me remain as a painter through all the obstacles and struggles that I had to bear in my life.”
'Yet Another Pilgrimage' is the exhibition of paintings that Sasikumar had made during the different stages of his life. In his own words, “The paintings are the expression of the different whims that were generated inside my mind by purely common places sights and trivial incidents.” Working for the betterment of painting as an art for more than two decades, Sasikumar hopes to rejuvenate the spark of appreciating genuine art among people through his works.
The exhibition concludes on August 23.