Saturday, July 13, 2024

Jithinlal’s drawings on C. Ayyappan’s story ‘Prethabhashanam’ a big draw

Jithinlal’s ‘Prethabhashanam’ on display at the Kochi Muziris Biennale at Aspinwall House

Jithinlal’s ‘Prethabhashanam’ on display at the Kochi Muziris Biennale at Aspinwall House
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


Dalit issues are at the core of art created by N.R. Jithinlal, who teaches at RLV College of Music and Fine Arts at Thripunithura.  

At the Kochi Muziris Biennale, which is set to draw to a close on April 10, he draws on C. Ayyappan’s noted story, ‘Prethabhashanam’, which has a deeply subaltern and subversive narrative. Mr. Jithinlal’s series of drawings comprises 10 small and two big drawings, using ink and acrylic paint on paper. 

“Although concerned with the Dalit movement, the style adopted while approaching the subject gives prominence to aesthetics,” says the painter. “This enables approaching the politics of a picture in a relevant manner.”  

The sufferings endured by the subjugated people at the beginning of the 20th century reached Ayyappan through the songs composed by Poikayil Appachan. “The mode of presentation adopted by Poikayil Appachan consisting of songs and speeches influenced me deeply. It prompted me to think of ways to visualise what is absent in history,” says Mr. Jithinlal. 

It was the medium of ‘Prethabhashanam‘ (Speech of the demon) employed by Ayyappan that attracted Mr. Jithinlal the most. “The ‘ghost talks’ [’prethasamsaram’] are subaltern talks as well. When a ghost talks, it doesn not carry the bond of history, physical existence or of emotional attachments. That style attracted me, and I was prompted to visualise beauty through such a language”. He says ‘Prethabhashanam‘, on display at Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi, is also a continuum of his earlier works.  

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