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Rising high above the city of Mysore the undulating hills of Chamundi are a landmark of myth and history. The road uphill leads one to the temple of Chamundeshwari the tutelary deity of the erstwhile Wodeyar regime. She is seen as an eight-handed icon of supremacy sitting astride a lion and with attributes with which she vanquishes the tyranny of the buffalo headed demon, Mahishasura. She is one who revels in her victory over evil and watches over the city.
Listening to fables was a childhood pastime for S.G.Vasudev. He regales one with memories of his Birthplace, of visits to the royal elephant stable close by his grandparents’ house and the Dussehra pageantry. With his grandfather working for the Maharaja of Mysore and Officer in charge of the Chamundeshwari temple, Vasudev often found an opportunity to visit the hills. The long walks unravelled fascinating stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana enacted by his grandfather, an amazing storyteller. It is in this city that Vasudev discovered the joys of drawing and imagery which have become an integral part of his compositions. The presence of the elephant which at times evolves into a Ganesa, the Kannada integers, the hills, tree of life and other characters from myths are often seen in his drawings, paintings, copper relief works and tapestries. Some of these traditional motifs and folk forms can be seen incorporated ingeniously in ‘Scenes from the Mahabharata’,’Fantasy’, ‘Elephant and man’,’ She and Hills’, Theatre of Life and Tree of Life.
The desire to create art that is contemporary and Indian in ethos has continually inspired Vasudev to seek from literature and legends. His association with Girish Karnad and A.K.Ramanujam further introduced him to the beauty of folk tales and the art of recreating and making them visually contemporary.
In the present body of small format abstract paintings in oil the artist recaptures the fantasy of hills imbibing emotions of deep rooted belongingness. Often having visualised the hills as elephant and lion faced forms, the artist uses them as a metaphor of perpetuity. Verdant landscapes layered and textured with dots and lines evoke the many hues of hills that have stood witness to changing seasons. Inspired by Tanjore, Mysore, miniature paintings and Ajanta murals, Vasudev chooses a palette of exquisite colours allowing the flow of a single colour to dominate.
In this series the artist recreates his own myth of the indigenous that remains immovable or ‘Achala’ in a continuum of time and space.
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