The drawing of an old man resting under the tree with head bent over his knees says it all. The wrinkles on his face explain how old age has played havoc on his countenance. Welcome to the exhibition of masterful strokes by Professor J. Vasanthan organised in connection with the first memorial day of the artist.
JV, as most of his kith and kin knew him, hardly promoted the artist in him to the outer world. The impressive lines of his pen took the visitors back in time to know the unknown side of a known personality. He was very subjective and for those who were close to him it was as if he came back to life through his art works.
The six-day exhibition inaugurated in memory of JV at UrbanSpice Gallery was indeed an eye-opener for many of his friends. Those who didn’t know much about JV’s tryst with brush were surprised to discover a painter in their teacher but only long after he had left. The first public showcasing of JVs works feature a wide range of subjects – right from a roadside vendor, desi cops and the Father of the nation to Shakespearean Characters and popular fictional personalities such as Sherlock Holmes.
Be it a linear drawing or a coloured portrait, JV’s mastery over the art attracted the spectators. Especially his caricatures of erstwhile actor Sivaji Ganesan and Arun Shourie showcased the ability of the painter in JV. “In fact, one of our artists was in tears while browsing through the art pieces. He could not digest the absence of the great personality that JV was,” says T. Chinnaraj Joseph, Managing Trustee, JV Art Foundation.
JV left behind around 2,500 art pieces, 70 of which are displayed in this exhibition. “We have digitised all his art works. The art foundation was established to perpetuate the legacy of Professor J. Vasanthan while providing a platform for emerging artists and raising awareness and appreciation of art and culture in Madurai,” said Chandni Appadurai, Founder Trustee, JV Art Foundation.
Inaugurating the exhibition popular painter Trotsky Marudhu wanted the family members to come out with a book. “I have seen his drawings in magazines of the 70s. I feel my Madurai connect when I browse his pictures. This is a good beginning for an art activity in Madurai,” said Marudhu.
Offering felicitations Solomon Papiah, JV’s friend, remembered his relationship with the professor. “JV was not after money or recognition. He held painting close to his heart. I heard some of his art work was done in just two minutes. It speaks volumes of his artistic calibre.” He felt that such an exhibition should have been organised when JV was alive.
Advocate Isaac Mohan quoted lines from Robert Browning and Thomas Gray and said how he came into contact with JV. “I was introduced to JV through the Down Memory Lane column in The Hindu Metroplus, Madurai. When I came to know that the writer was residing nearby, I made it a point to meet him the same day. I returned awe-struck by the personality of JV,” he said.
The organisers have planned to release a documentary on Professor J. Vasanthan at the valedictory. The paintings are available for sale online. For more information visit www.jvartfoundation.com and to learn more email firstname.lastname@example.orgArt Foundation, JV Art Foundation, Madurai, Professor J. Vasanthan