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The Mahabharata In 100-Odd Murals

Artist Prince Thonnakkal and his woman students retell the ancient epic in graphic colours

The Mahabharata In 100-Odd Murals
Wall Of Stories | Photograph by R.A. Chandroo
The Mahabharata In 100-Odd Murals
outlookindia.com
2018-07-27T21:55:37+05:30

The 8-ft-by-4-ft depiction of ‘Vishwaroopam’ literally dwa­rfs Prince Thonnakkal’s slight frame. It is the only painting this master has pain­ted out of the 113 frames of ­murals through which the Mahabharata ­unfolds in bright colours and int­ricate patterns. He left it to his 35 woman students to bring the rest of the epic to life.

“It is only appropriate that Prince Sir came up with the Vishwaroopam,” says Meena Kumari, a retired postal emp­loyee and former Kerala state footballer from Thiruvananthapuram, who has been a student of Thonnakkal since 2000. “Just as the god’s cosmic form inspired Arjuna on the battlefield, our master has been the inspiration behind this massive project. We owe the revival of mural art in south India to him.”

To Thonnakkal, 48, goes the credit of bringing the mural, essentially a temple art that adorns the walls of Kerala’s temples, out into the open by the bold use of acrylic colours. The original art involves the use of vegetable dyes painted on cured...

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