‘Worship of Dasamata’
A. Ramachandran
Oil on Canvas

“The Earth has its music for those who will listen.” – Reginald Holmes

A. Ramachandran’s art, predominantly oozing a sense of decorativeness, witnessed a shift in its theme from urban angst to the peaceful aesthetics of rural life. Village women have appeared in his mural-scale paintings on several occasions, in different moods. Their traditional attires and jewellery may earn an initial admiration for romanticism, but there is a lot more to delve into.

Ramachandran (b. 1935), awarded Padma Bhushan in 2005, studied fine arts in Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan, where he received training from the pioneers like Benode Behari Mukherjee and Ramkinkar Baij. Inspired by the murals of Kerala and the rural life of Rajasthan, the artist has delineated canvas after canvas with vibrant colours and decorative forms.

One of his many large works is titled ‘Worship of Dasamata‘, depicts a village scene where ladies from different age groups are worshipping a peepal tree. By painting the monkeys, who are greedily awaiting the prasadam (food offered to the deity), Ramachandran has very playfully captured the rhythm of a rural life where humans live in absolute coherence with animals and nature. Worshipping trees is an age-old practice in the history of human civilization. But this ritual, in today’s context, can be seen as a protective measure towards Mother Nature.

As we are facing the deadliest threat of our time, climate emergency, this indigenous tradition of protecting trees from the menacing process of urbanisation and deforestation is a reminder of how the village community is fighting hard to preserve the green without being engaged in any urban rhetoric.

This year, the United Nations observed 15th of October as the International Day of Rural Women, focusing on the theme ‘Rural Women and Girls Building Climate Resilience.’ It’s high time that we acknowledge the contribution of the rural women in agriculture, land managing and protecting natural resources.

Head on to A. Ramchandran’s website to learn more about his life and works.

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Images: Courtesy of Vadehra Art Gallery and Visual Art

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