Once upon a canvas: Ramayana as told by Raghupathi Bhat

Experience the Ramayana as told by Raghupathi Bhat in his exquisite miniature cards and gigantic chalk drawings

Dressed in the traditional white panche, or dhoti, paired with a salmon pink kurta and angavastram, artist Raghupathi Bhat is intently painting the scene of King Dasharath’s putra kameshti yagna (ritual sacrifice for a son) when I meet him in his modest studio on the leafy road to Chamundi Hill in Mysuru. He makes a few final strokes in chalk on the terracotta background and the scene comes magically to life: Dasharath, placed at the centre, towers above his entourage, who respectfully bow to him. This huge canvas, measuring 6’x4’, is part of Bhat’s latest series of 12 back-to-back line drawings on six wooden boards, each depicting a scene from the Ramayana.

These out-sized chalk drawings are a first for the artist, who is known for his exquisite Ramayana miniatures on tiny 4”x 3” cards. Bhat had created 60 of these for the V&A some 30 years back and the series remains the pièce de résistance of his oeuvre.

White lines

The present series of chalk drawings is expected to have a brief life. But the size of the frames gave Bhat the space to make extensive use of folk art, to which he is partial. The panels accompanied the theatrical adaptation of Kuvempu’s Sri Ramayana Darshanam, which was staged at Mysuru and Bengaluru in November last year as part of the 50th anniversary celerations of the awarding of the Jnanpith to the poet laureate.....Read more

Source web page: The hindu

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