Meet Sadanam Harikumar, the multi-faceted artiste

Sadanam Harikumar, who has gained the 2020 Akademi award for sculpture, can be a painter, musician, composer and dancer

Eyebrows have been raised when Kerala Lalithakala Akademi introduced its record of awardees for 2020. It included Kathakali artiste Sadanam Harikumar — however for sculpture. For a lot of painters and artists, nonetheless, this didn’t come as a shock — that they had seen Harikumar’s artwork works at exhibitions and at the solo present he had organised with an Akademi grant.

The moulding of this multi-talented artiste is linked to some establishments carefully related to the freedom motion. As a baby born in Sadanam Kathakali Academy (1953), based by his father, the veteran freedom fighter Sadanam Kumaran, coaching in the classical dance-theatre was a given. He donned the kachcha (loin fabric) whereas in the third commonplace and had his arangetram when he was in the fifth commonplace. He ascribes all his achievements in Kathakali — an completed performer, musician, playwright (with 19 performs to his credit score) and costume designer — to the doyen Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair Asan, who was at the helm of the Kathakali division in the Academy then. “My guru is the most resourceful exponent of Kathakali I’ve ever met in my life and he has had ample affect on my creative profession,” Harikumar has mentioned earlier.

Sadanam Harikumar giving finishing touches to the bust of Thekkinkattil Ravunni Nair

Sadanam Harikumar giving ending touches to the bust of Thekkinkattil Ravunni Nair

Earlier than the Kathakali Academy was established, his father had based Gandhi Seva Sadanam (1946) as a part of the freedom motion. This establishment had completely different programs for instructing folks crafts for self-reliance. Engaged on clay was one such. As a baby, Harikumar mingled with the artisans and learnt to sculpt in clay. He quickly realised his aptitude for the medium, and even gained prizes in class competitions. Later, whereas in Christ Faculty, Irinjalakuda, an establishment identified for its extra-curricular actions, his abilities bloomed in full.

In 1989, Harikumar turned a lecturer in the Kathakali division in Santiniketan, one other trailblazing establishment that emerged from the Independence Motion. The extent to which this campus motivated his creative propensity is past description. Alongside his courses, he started making terracotta sculptures in the division of Superb Arts. The veteran Ok. G. Subramaniam in the division questioned how he may create such distinctive works by merely observing. . By the time Harikumar left Shantiniketan in 1994 because of well being points, he was an completed sculptor.

Again dwelling, it took greater than a yr for him to recuperate fully. He quickly bought again to sculpting and joined the Sadanam Academics’ Coaching College as lecturer.

By this time, Harikumar was assured sufficient to strive his hand at portraits. He painted ten legendary Kathakali artists, together with Pattikkamthodi Ravunni Menon, Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair, Thekkinkattil Ramunni Nair, Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair, Vazhankada Kunchu Nair, Thiruvalwamala Vankichan Swamy, Moothamana Kesavan Namboodiri and Mundaya Venkitakrishna Bhagavathar. Maybe the final in the sequence was of CS Krishna Iyer, his guru in Carnatic music. He additionally made busts of his dad and mom.

The Karmayogam silpam that won him the award

The Karmayogam silpam that gained him the award

The piece that fetched him the Lalithakala Akademi award is titled ‘Karmayogam’ and reveals a resurrected man with a wreath on his chest and crows milling round. The six-foot sculpture depicts ramifications of life and dying.

Foray into portray

Harikumar’s foray into portray additionally occurred in Santiniketan. Although he began with oil, he moved to acrylic and lately to Photoshop portray.

Sculptor, painter, a Kathakali and Bharatanatyam dancer, musician and composer (he has 30 Malayalam songs to his credit score), Harikumar’s achievements mirror the dialogue between Sage Markandeya and King Vajra in the Vishnudharmothara Purana, when the king began by eager to study sculpture and the sage mentioned he needed to study portray first, for which he needed to study dance, for which he should know instrumental music, which in flip required a data of singing. And thus was born a multi-dimensional expertise.

The author and tradition critic is a educated musician.

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