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Artist Namboothiri

 

Drawn by the exemplary aura of renowned painters like Mr. K. C. S. Panciker, Mr. Roy Choudhari and Mr. Dhanapal, a young student of Madras School of Fine Arts also started a journey that eventually made him a name to reckon and respect in the world of painting. This young student was none other than Mr. M. K. Vasudevan, the maestro painter of Kerala, popularly known as Artist Namboothiri.

In the painters,  domain of Kerala, the rise and popularity of Artist Namboothiri was indeed noteworthy. Known for his outstanding illustrations for over a quarter century now, this eminent painter has made some of the illustrations done for characters that appeared in literary publications in Kerala, very popular among Malayalee readers. In fact, it was Mr. Namboothiri during his stint as an artist in one of Kerala's leading publishers in print medium, Mathrubhumi along with A. S. Nair, who gave illustrations a fresh lease of life during the last three decades. Almost all of the leading Malayalam writers have benefited from the illustrations by Namboodiri, and this include literary luminaries like Thakazhy Shivasankara Pillai, Kesavadev, M. T. Vasudevan Nair, Uroob, S. K. Pottekatt and V.K.N.

Apart from illustrations, Mr. Namboothiri's attempts to bring in new mediums for art work, especially the copper sheet relief works won him admiration from art lovers inside and outside the State of Kerala. Bringing out the sculptor's skill in him, the art work on copper sheet turned out as a refreshing experience for his admirers. According to Mr. Namboothiri, the copper sheet relief work requires a lot of care at various stages. Mr. Namboothiri is also credited for resurrecting the art of finger painting, which he elevated into a respectable art form.

During his tenure with one of the leading publishing groups in Kerala, the Mathrubhumi, Mr. Namboothiri also flaunted his drawing skills for a pocket cartoon series titled 'Naniyammayum Lokavum', which became popular with the readers.

He has been the chairman of the Kerala Lalitakala Academy for more than one term. During his tenure as the Chairman of Kerala Lalithakala Academy, Mr. Namboothiri took upon himself the task of setting up an own building for the centre in Thrissur, which till then was working from rented space. He was also the key figure behind the conversion of the Durbar Hall in Kochi into an art gallery.

He is the winner of the Raja Ravi Varma Award for the year 2003, instituted by Kerala Government, which is given annually to persons who have made outstanding contributions to the field of painting and sculpture in the State. He has also won the state award for the best art direction for the Malayalam film Utharayanam.

Mr. Namboothiri has never placed his paintings for sale, except while he was a student in Madras. Currently settled at Bilathikulam in Kozhikode, Artist Namboothiri sees art essentially as an extension of his every day living. "As far as I am concerned, art is nothing but a way to satisfy my creative impulses." For Mr. Namboothiri, painting gives him an enjoyment and a feel of elation, "because from nothing, I use my brush and colours to create something that has shape, expression and meaning".

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