Datham 2023: Thiruvananthapuram Exhibition Highlights Artistry of B.D. Dethan’s 19 Disciples



Paintings exhibited at Datham 2023 in Thiruvananthapuram: A Tribute to BD Dethan’s Legacy

Nineteen disciples of veteran artist BD Dethan have joined forces to honor their teacher through a remarkable showcase of paintings. Currently on display at the Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery at Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram, Datham 2023 exhibits over 50 paintings created by these dedicated artists. The exhibition boasts a diverse range of color schemes and themes, with most artists opting for acrylics as their medium of choice.

A Close-Knit Community of Artists

Around fifteen to twenty individuals from various walks of life attend Dethan’s weekly art classes in the city. The group includes Gomathy Muralidharan, an 84-year-old senior participant, who has been with Dethan for years. Each artist has contributed three unique artworks to the exhibition, showcasing their individual styles and inspirations.

Exploring Varied Subjects with Acrylics

Tomina Mary Jose, a student of Dethan for the past nine years, impresses with three stunning acrylic paintings. One of her artworks focuses on former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, capturing his contributions and career within a single frame. Another piece pays homage to the charkha, symbolizing Mahatma Gandhi’s revolutionary role in India’s struggle for independence.

Rafeena Rafeek, a talented artist and wildlife photographer, delves into the beauty beneath the sea’s surface. While nature has always been Rafeena’s favorite subject, she uses her canvas to highlight the urgent need for marine diversity conservation. With our oceans increasingly polluted and their biodiversity threatened, her vibrant paintings depict the colorful sea beds, showcasing creatures and corals in shades of blue, green, yellow, and orange.

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Rediscovering Passion for Art

Many of the participating artists credit Dethan’s classes for reigniting their love for painting, which they had set aside due to professional and personal obligations. Selina Haridas, a former employee at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), shares her story of reconnecting with her childhood passion for painting. As retirement approached, friends and well-wishers inquired about her plans, prompting her to return to art. It was through this serendipity that she encountered Dethan and decided to join his classes. Selina, an avid traveler, captures moments from her journeys through her artwork. Her daughter, Neethu Babu, an IT professional, also showcases her own paintings at the exhibition.

Similarly, GB Haridranath, an engineer and editor at the State Institute of Languages, resumed painting after a long hiatus of eight years. Despite his limited free time today, being part of this artistic community means a great deal to him. The camaraderie among the artists, along with Dethan’s guidance, allows him to find solace and escape from the stresses of daily life. Haridranath’s works include a portrait of Lord Buddha and a landscape depicting the sacred city of Varanasi.

Rekindling Creativity with Freedom

Swapna Mary, who returned to painting in 2019 after a considerable break, expresses her appreciation for Dethan’s teaching style. She explains that he doesn’t guide artists through each artwork but instead grants them the freedom to choose their subjects and preferred artistic mediums. Dethan is always available to offer suggestions and guidance when needed. Swapna stands out among her peers as the only artist showcasing oil paintings at the exhibition.

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Highlighting Social Issues and Expressing Emotions

Sumitha Suseelan’s masterpiece, inspired by a photograph published alongside an article on color-based discrimination, conveys a powerful message. Her portrayal of a woman’s visage captures the essence of this social issue with striking realism.

Architect Viji Bhagavathy captivates viewers with her series titled ‘Faces.’ Using a palette knife and acrylics, she skillfully creates three semi-abstract works that subtly capture the transformation of a woman’s expression from despair to confidence. Viji’s talent lies in her ability to expertly depict emotions on the canvas.

Art as Therapy

For Santhi Rajeev, painting is not just a hobby but a necessity. Despite having a neurological disorder that affects her ability to control her eyelids, she finds solace and relief in painting. Her doctor has advised her to continue pursuing art due to the therapeutic benefits it brings. Painting and music are the ultimate sources of happiness for Rajeev.

Celebrating Artistic Brilliance at Datham 2023

Datham 2023 is the second edition of this extraordinary exhibition. The first edition, held in 2019, featured only six of Dethan’s students. This year’s event promises a more extensive and diverse collection of artworks, reflecting the growth and dedication of Dethan’s disciples.

The exhibition runs until October 2 at Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan, offering visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the captivating world of these talented artists. The gallery opens its doors from 11 am to 7 pm, welcoming art enthusiasts and supporters of local talent.

In conclusion, Datham 2023 serves as a remarkable tribute to BD Dethan’s influence, mentorship, and legacy. Through their striking artworks, these passionate artists pay homage to their teacher while showcasing their individuality and artistic prowess.

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