Explore the Works of Ponniyin Selvan Illustrator Maniam

A touching story of a son following in his father’s footsteps, Maniam Selven takes us on a journey through his illustrious career and the impact of his father’s legacy on his life and work.

Early Beginnings and Influences

Growing up as the only son of the celebrated illustrator, Maniam, Maniam Selven found his passion for art early on. His father’s approval of a simplistic recreation of Italian artist Fortunino Matania’s work marked a pivotal point in his career, instilling in him a deep sense of appreciation for the craft. Reflecting on this, Maniam Selven recalls how his father never insisted on him becoming an artist, but always exposed him to various artists and perspectives that served as his inspiration.

The Legacy and Custodianship

Now, with his children, Maniam Selven stands as the custodian of a body of work that holds the essence of his father’s illustrative legacy. Recently on display at the Lalit Kala Akademi, this collection serves as a testament to his father’s impact on his career. Maniam Selven’s deep emotional connection to his father’s work is evident, as he repeatedly attributes his success to his father’s influence.

Evolution of Illustrative Work

Despite a short life of 44 years, Maniam’s career spanned 28 years of exceptional illustrative work that evolved over time and through various influences. His collaboration with author Kalki Krishnamurthy for the magazine “Kalki” allowed him to create Indian art without being distracted by other perspectives. The magazine’s distinct voice in the post-Independence era played a pivotal role in influencing the mass psyche, emphasizing the importance of reviving the nation’s culture and history.

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Syncretism and Collaboration

A standout moment in Maniam’s career came with the serialised “Ponniyin Selvan” in 1950, where his collaboration with the author led to the expansion of his reach as an artist. The deep connection between the author and the illustrator allowed for a seamless fusion of ideas, with the artist even outdoing the author’s imagination at times.

Exploring New Horizons

Maniam’s journey as an artist saw him experimenting with different mediums and subjects, from the intricate canvas of the sage Agastya’s story to the portrayal of historical figures like Alexander the Great and Mother Teresa. His foray into art direction for movies furthered the possibilities of creating immersive worlds on a larger scale.

Digital Evolution and Legacy

The curation of Maniam Selven’s work, including the evolution of illustrative art with the advent of digital tools, offers a glimpse into the future of art. The impact of his father’s legacy is felt even more deeply as he reflects on the opportunity to work on the cover of “Deepavali Malar” after his father’s passing, a testament to his enduring influence.

Final Thoughts

Maniam Selven’s story is one of honoring his father’s legacy while carving his own path in the world of illustrative art. As he continues to preserve and celebrate his father’s work, one cannot help but acknowledge the profound impact of familial influence on artistic endeavors. Maniam’s emotional connection to his father’s legacy truly underscores the power of art as a timeless legacy.

In essence, Maniam Selven’s journey serves as a tribute to his father and a testament to the enduring impact of his illustrative legacy.

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