Hyderabad artist U Vijay Kumar’s canvas of emotions

Painting by Vijay Kumar
| Photo Credit: special arrangement

Painting is another way of keeping a diary, Pablo Picasso said. One such diary of artist U Vijay Kumar is set to be unveiled on March 16 at the State Art Gallery in Hyderabad. The seven-day exhibition —Transcendental Reality: The Enigmatic Mindscapes of U Vijay Kumar — is the artist’s sixth solo show. More than 30 paintings and drawings encompass his works done over the past six years. “I realised I have not had a show for a long time in Hyderabad,” says the veteran artist at Tapas, his studio on the second floor of his house in Tarnaka.

Muse in the ordinary

Passing Clouds by Vijay Kumar

Passing Clouds by Vijay Kumar
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

For Vijay Kumar, art is a transcendental experience. The artist finds his muse in the ordinary; life’s mundane events and challenges inspire him to delve deep into his thoughts and memories and depict them with strokes and colours. “I don’t seek inspiration externally,” he says. Admitting his canvases are a form of self-expression, he says he finds inspiration in “What we come across in our daily routine, the strength we gather to face the challenges life throws at us, agony, ecstasy and finding joy.”

Symbolic works

Vijay Kumar

Vijay Kumar
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

Having struggled in life since a young age, the unassuming artist is moved by people facing challenges. “People face different crises, be it financial, emotional or health-related. Unexpected challenges make them feel they won’t survive, but mysteriously, a higher power protects them,” he says pointing towards Passing Clouds, a painting of a man in a broken boat and deep waters symbolising his challenging situation. Dark rain clouds seem to add to his troubles but contrary to assumption, the clouds move away.

Painting by Vijay Kumar

Painting by Vijay Kumar
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

Vijay Kumar’s canvases are a mix of bright and dark colours, a metaphor for the ups and downs in life. While a man painted in blue on a grey background explains the tough phase and small rocks painted on his head signify more difficulties in the offing, , Parikrama, a painting of a vibrant mermaid, is inspired by his globetrotting daughter.

Painting and music

Painting by Vijay Kumar

Painting by Vijay Kumar
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

With KG Subramanian, Nasreen Mohammedi, Jeram Patel and Krishna Chhatpar as teachers, Vijay Kumar pursued his graduation and postgraduation in Fine Arts in Baroda. He did not pursue a career as an artist but took up a job due to domestic compulsions. He worked as an art teacher for nearly four decades at the Atomic Energy Central School in Hyderabad and used to paint during his free time. Since retirement in 2016, he has completely devoted his time to art. He paints only in oil (“The medium suits my pace of work”) while listening to classical music by Pandit Jasraj, Bheemsen Joshi and Kumar Gandharva. “Sometimes I start working without switching on the music system but immediately feel something is missing. Music is a part of my life and I never paint without it,” smiles the artist.

Transcendental Reality: The Enigmatic Mindscapes of U Vijay Kumar is on at the State Art Gallery in Kavuri Hills from its inauguration on March 16, 5.30pm to March 22.

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