Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Devan Madangarly - Meet An Artist

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

To think of Ahalia Heritage Village and not associate it with Varma Sir or Devan Sir is impossible. This week, Devan Sir is joining us to share his thoughts and experiences and above all his art which is magnanimous in itself. He is a self-taught contemporary artist who easily fuses folklore and folk style into his art with such ease and grace that it's so interlaced into an effective narrative style. He is not only an amazing artist but a fabulous and generous human being too. I am super glad to introduce Devan Sir to my dear friends and readers in my space, Hues n Shades.

{For those who are new here and have not read my Ahalia posts, you can read it here and here.}

Devan Madangarly (DM)

Deepa: Firstly, as the tradition goes, please give us a brief about yourself.

DM: I was born and brought up in a Namboodiri (Brahmin) family in Ottapalam, Kerala. I studied up to Pre-degree and soon after started to work in sales and marketing for a living. I remember my childhood days as difficult periods.

Art was always in my veins. My great grandfather and one of his brothers were artists. I think of it as a continuation of their gifts in me. From childhood days, I drew. But during my ‘salesman period’ I did nothing important.  After 15 years of working as a salesman, I resigned and got into the world of arts and that was in 1990. I am basically a self-taught artist; I went to Kanoria Centre for Arts, in Ahmedabad and took a foundation course of drawing and painting though.



Deepa: Tell us something about your work and association with Ahalia Heritage Village. What is the one thing that you enjoy the most in Ahalia and why? You organize various workshops with artists all over the country. What is it that you relish and learn from these memorable events? 

DM: In Ahalia Heritage Village, in Palakkad, I am experiencing a new kind of work. We, the Team, together are recreating and converting a barren land to an art village. Ahalia organizes various workshops with artists all over the country. I am learning from these memorable events on how to develop as an organizer and studying on their working methods. Actually the mural I did in Ahalia is based on the tribal life and culture.

Ahalia Heritage Village

Deepa: The mural art that you have worked on in Ahalia is one of a kind with elements of nature in it. It portrays a serene and harmonious existence that we so wish in today’s wild world. What was your intention behind that creation?

DM: Since Ahalia is a heritage village where we wanted to preserve folk elements of art, we decided to go with that kind of theme. It has folk art and nature which is inseparable.


Deepa: You are an extremely talented artist yourself. What inspires you the most and stirs your creative juices?

DM: I don’t think I am ‘an extremely talented artist.’ But talented, yes. What inspires me is Nature. Books and my journeys are my other inspirations.


Deepa: Folk art has found a new direction in your art, if I may say so. There are also the vast green landscapes and cool blue water bodies, what inspired you to merge all these elements together to bring about an art tale of your own?

DM: In my childhood days, I felt lonely. That loneliness gave me a friend - Nature. Nature inspired me to draw. My experiences and some motifs from nature became part of my paintings. My paintings are my stories. My narrative style is created with the mural tradition and miniature styles of India.

Devan Sir's mural in Ahalia Heritage Village



Deepa: There is a sort of simplicity and yet an enticing depth to it…as if there are layers to your paintings... Your signature! May we know your thoughts on it?

DM: Almost every painting and drawing I did is simple but in the depth they lead to a mood of sadness. This is because my thoughts lead me to contemplate on my memories. Actually memories are a great influence in my works.


Deepa: Monochromes seem to be a recurring process…is that deliberate?

DM: My drawings, especially pencil, and some paintings are always monochromatic. That is not deliberate. My childhood days were colourless. So the memories are the reasons behind the style. Colour came to my life after many years. Then I began to experiment with colour.



Deepa: You work with different mediums…which is your preferred medium though?

DM: My preferred medium is Pencil.

Doll in a Basket

Deepa: It is difficult to point to one and say “I just loved it!”…there are a lot of personal favourites for me in your collection. The diptych and triptych are lovely works, while ‘Rain and the Boats’ suggests nostalgia, ‘The Antique Collector’, ‘Death of a Salesman’ is an intriguing piece, ‘The Birds have no Reflection’ has a childish charm with an interesting edge to it, ‘The Smoker and the Crows’ has an eerie touch to it, while ‘Jobs of an Elephant’ points out a satirical element…there are lot of personal nuances in your paintings. Which is your personal favourite and why?

DM: In my works, many are my personal favourites. You mentioned some of them. Every work is my memory. In one way or other, they are attached to me. ‘Rain and the Boats’ was a childhood memory. In ‘Antique Collector’, I am the protagonist. ‘The death of a Salesman’ is based on my salesman period. ‘The Birds have no reflection’ is simply a childish dream. In ‘Smoker and the Crows’, the smoker is one of my friends. He was sitting quietly in Cholamandal Artists Village and smoking, at the same moment the crows came to his side and befriended him. ‘Jobs of an Elephant’ are from my journeys; what I saw.



Deepa: Who is/are your personal favourite(s)? Also, whose work(s) hang in your living room? 

DM: My personal favourites are many, from Europe to India. There are no works in my living room though because I don’t have a living room as I reside in an ancestral home which doesn’t have that concept of a living room.


Deepa: What would be your most important advice to aspiring artists? Any tip or technique that you would like to share with the readers?

DM: My advice is to aspiring artists is to draw, draw, draw, and study different techniques of usage of pencil.


Deepa: Where can my readers reach you? (Website/Blog, FB, Twitter, Email address…)

Picture from an artists' camp held in Lakshadweep

Thank you Devan Sir for your time. It was an immense honour to have you here and share your art and thoughts. Wishing you the very best in all your future endeavours and years of happiness!

Friends, hope you all enjoyed the first of MAA (Meet An Artist) of 2015. Do keep visiting and leave your thoughts... appreciate it a lot!

Good Day!

pic courtesy: Devan Madangarly

Note: Do not use these images without the written consent of the artist. Please honour the rights of the artists'.

Please do not use/reproduce the content (words as well as images) without the written consent of the author.

Friday, January 23, 2015

"My death needs to mean something..."

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

Recently there was a news in our regional newspaper about Leelah (Josh) Alcorn (17), a transgender teen who committed suicide on Dec 28, 2014 in Ohio. 'She' walked 4 miles to Interstate 71 in the middle of the night where she was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer. For two-three days internet talked only(so it seemed) about Leelah..I could see different pictures and news from different sites presenting their views and opinions and there was so much hatred towards the family particularly the parents who failed to understand their child. I was deeply affected by the incident ( like may other incidents... sometimes I just skip those pages or channels as if that would help me! Yet, the truth remains....we just can't escape from such facts!) just by the thought of how a teenager who pondered (must have done that for a long time) and took the drastic step of taking one's own life...put an end to all 'her' sufferings. She had explained in her blog that she felt "like a girl trapped in a boy's body ever since I was 4."

Why am I writing about her? I am not sure, but this is compelling! I had to! For me it is as simple as they are HUMANS too...with the same kind of feelings and emotions and pains! How hard can it be to accept people as they are when it is not even something within their power??? Many, I hear and read, take it as some sort of mental ailment. Isn't that sick and pathetic?

I think in these recent years much has been talked, discussed, presented and publicized through TV and other mediums. Earlier there was so much it ambivalence(?)...when LGBT issues were spoken about. It's not completely extinct yet people are now more considerate, candid and accepting (than in the past when people would never come out speaking 'for' them) - can not generalize the situation though. I am glad that we are evolving though (may be I still like to see the positive side).

I remember Aamir Khan's Satyamev Jayate presented this issue in Season3 - Episode 3 - Accepting Alternative Sexualities. He needs all the applause for having brought up the issue in such a stoic fashion and made the country aware of the impact the society forces on them and how the lives, knowingly or unknowingly - most of the time it is the former, are transformed for the worse. There is so much stigma and taboo attached to the subject that one needs to think many times before venturing into it, I feel!

I loved Ghazal's part where she just had to be released from her disconnected body to what she actually was and most importantly how her parents stood by her even if it was with all their fears and insecurities. She is more graceful than any other 'woman' I have seen! To top it all, she's an upcoming script-writer too!!! 

I felt Leelah's story resembled Ghazal's but it ended up tragically because she didn't have the much needed support system as Ghazal. Leelah's case became global, specifically after her 'Suicide Note' went viral and it was followed by 'SORRY' (to friends and family). 

Leelah's mission was clear...she didn't want her death to go unnoticed...she wanted to bring about a change. She said "My death needs to mean something"...she wished to "Fix society" and she left all the money she was to inherit and what she had for the cause - to save LGBT community. It shows the 'grave' impact on her 'little' mind.

This alone can be a reason why one should not talk about her? It is this attitude that made me write this post...she takes it to the level of sacrifice by doing so.
I would like to hear what you wish to say...your thoughts on the subject.

Leelah - Watercolor on handmade paper


"Leelah, the light was 
put out to darken her thoughts
yet it caught flame, wild."

Linking to Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday!

Please do not use/reproduce the content (words as well as images) without the written consent of the author.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Back to Haiku and IF

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

"Lonely, lovely songs
That nature sings rise from depths
Her bosom holds holy."

Madhubani  in A5 sketch book (Winsor & Newton)

This is the 26th Haiku from my Haiku collection  (posted only two or three here ). I started it way back in 2009 with Aniket and Amritorupa's inspiration when we used to post Haiku's at intervals. It's been a long time since I posted anything poetic, though I keep jotting down some from time to time. I love to do that as a way of unwinding, relaxing!!! It is extremely essential for me!!! 

Also this week I am thinking of taking part in Illustration Friday as well since it has been a long time having dropped there too! I am completely occupied with my projects one after the other and above all the internet connection is a mess since the last two months!!! Sent complaints after complaints but in vain. I have not been to make my usual visits too to my dear blogger friends...I will be hopping by soon.

This week's IF topic is TOY. I have decided to go with  Krishna's, my daughter's , favourite one - 'Rocky'... digitally modified :)


Linking it to Paint Party Friday

Please do not use/reproduce the content (words as well as images) without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Hopes, New Beginning

New year brings so much hopes for a better year than the previous one. How much ever it was bad, chaotic, disheveled it be...we always long for things to change with the arrival of a new year...I am an optimist! What are hopes and aspirations for than to realize them!!

Like many others I long for it too, hoping everything would happen for the better and many more pleasant surprises are in store, also wishing that each and every dream turns into reality adding that extra touch of phenomenal eccentricity to life :) 

Even when one indulges in oneself, one shouldn't forget or ignore that which surrounds us, the beauty around us. People, environment, nature...everything is a mix - a hint of this, a tinge of that. It would also be great if people would tend and nurture that beauty rather than destroy it. I really long for those days when the newspapers would give us happy and incredible news. 

If you had been following my blog you will get to know quote cards that I had been making now and then...if not, check here. This is one I made a few days back... sometime in December last year. I have it a bit photoshopped...wanted to see how it looks and I think it looks good. What do you say???


To dream is to take the first step to creating a world of one's own. There are times when one would like to be left alone without any noise or distraction or meddling with you and your loneliness (mein aur meri tanhayi as they say in Hindi) when you are the most with oneself and one enjoys one's own company! I am my Best Friend at times (when you don't have anyone else around you - of your wavelength/frequency!!!)

I have a fascination for illustrations. I also these phases

when I keep doing a genre for a period of time thenI go onto yet another and so on. This was done during theillo phase. You can see that in black and white here.

I simply wanted to color it and I had no patience and space to lay out my colours so opted to do it digitally. It was my first try with digital colouring. 

JaminiRoy-Reproduction-HuesnShadesHorses are powerful, graceful and skillful creatures and I think anyone would fall in love with them...the speed, the free spirit, harnessing it's powers both for the majestic and the magical. Hope we all adopt and adapt to that spirit and power the beautiful animal possesses. Hoping that all these materialize in this fervent year!  I would like to remind you that I am a huge Jamini Roy fan and all his works are my favourites. I have done a few reproductions of his earlier in 2012. I need to do more when I get enough time. You can view my other Jamini Reproductions by clicking on the TAG Jamini Roy on the sidebar.
I have taken up new projects and wish that I can fulfill them with utmost gravity and gusto. I will reveal it, along the way, one by one.

Hope you all have an Amazing, Dreamy, Fulfilling year ahead :)

Hop over to Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday...It's FUN!

Please do not use/reproduce the content (words as well as images) without the written consent of the author.