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Giving Kerala style mural art a monochromatic flavour 

INDGiving Kerala style mural art a monochromatic flavour 

Participants of the monochrome mural painting exhibition, organised by Devayanam School of Mural Art, with their paintings at Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery in Kozhikode on May 14.
| Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

Colourful is one word to describe the Kerala style mural paintings. The art form is known for representation of mythical themes in five natural colours. However, the Devayanam School of Mural Art has taken the art form out of its box by limiting its palette to a single colour.

An exhibition of monochromatic mural art works by students and faculty of the school that concluded at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery in Kozhikode on May 14 (Tuesday) is a study on how complexities of the style could be incorporated using one single colour instead of the usual five.

“It was quite difficult to execute. We had to use different shades of the same colour to give depth to the painting,” said Sathish Thayat, founder of the school. The exhibition was inaugurated by mural artist Krishnan Mallisseri and features 25 paintings by 25 people in 25 different colours. “Many of the colours may seem the same for commoners. But they are actually different,” Mr. Thayat added.

It was a mural painting, using just brown and black colours, that he spotted at a temple in Kannur that prompted Mr. Thayat to experiment with monochromatic paintings. He had his students at Pookkad Kalalayam at Chemancheri experiment on the concept through an exhibition titled ‘Eka Varnika’ in 2022. “That exhibition consisted of paintings featuring several faces in monochrome, in mural style. Here we have complete figures,” Mr. Thayat said. 

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