Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Devan Madangarly - Meet An Artist

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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.


ilakshee said...

stories of how people follow their passion against all odds are always inspiring. wonderful read such stories in your space!

Bikram said...

WOWO... thank you so much for introducing such a good artist .. and lovely interview tooo


Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful interview and powerful paintings! Thanks for sharing, Valerie

GlorV1 said...

Hi Deepa. Devan is a wonderful artist. Great job Devan! Great interview as well.

Faye said...

Thank you for introducing such a gifted artist, Deepa.

A'n'G Johnson said...

these are remarkable ! I feel like I've just had the pleasure of walking through a gallery. Thank you for taking the time to share with us such a talented artist!

Sukhi KS said...

Impressed by your effort chechi.

Thanks for this post. I did not know of this heaven and divine personality.


Anonymous said...

I loved the paintings...just intrigued by how much they say through their work.

Thanks, Devan Sir!

Mridula said...

What a lovely set of paintings!

WE said...

Very impressive, I'm wondering how people religiously follows their passion. Good one...

Rajesh said...

Beautiful work of arts.

Indrani said...

Amazing art work!
I wish the project a huge success!

Anita Sabat said...

Such wonderful art. Really a visual treat.
Thanks for sharing :)

Tomichan Matheikal said...

All artists are so lonely!

Ranjana's craft blog said...

Appreciate your effort to introduce artists through your blog.
True, memories influence an artist a lot. Loved that "Doll in the basket".
All the best Devan Madangarly Sir.