Devi Seetharam from Thiruvananthapuram, who grew up living in China, Cambodia, South Africa, Switzerland and Thailand, uses the paintings to divulge the dominance of men in contemporary Kerala
‘Brothers, Fathers and Uncles’, a series of acrylic paintings by Melbourne-based artist Devi Seetharam displayed at ‘Shed D’ of the Kerala State Coir Corporation, one of the venues of the ‘Lokame Tharavadu’ contemporary art show, visualises patriarchy in Kerala society.
Ms. Seetharam from Thiruvananthapuram, who grew up living in China, Cambodia, South Africa, Switzerland and Thailand, uses the paintings to divulge the dominance of men in contemporary Kerala.
Although set in the State, instead of the usual lush green and vibrancy, her paintings “look worn, weathered and tired” in her own words. “The natural outdoor space, rather than being a celebration is in a state of being exhausted. This dictated the mood and colour palette and they are not supposed to be happy paintings,” says Ms. Seetharam.
Caught in time warp
She says that men are painted dark, to tackle their valued beauty standard. “Basically, it is supposed to be a study of our community, the notion of men occupying space, to being entitled to that space. Every painting is a reconfiguration of the men, but the details on the floor keep changing, signifying the passage of time,” she says, adding that those items have fallen, but those men are still caught in a time warp.
All the figures are wrapped in silvery white Kerala attire with the signature golden zari work accentuating the contrast.
Ms. Seetharam completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore, in 2011. Primarily a painter, she currently works with acrylic on canvas, using reductive techniques to create grain, texture and form. Ms. Seetharam was recently short-listed for the Incinerator and Darebin art prize in Australia.