Artist Ramesh Gorjala creates a stunning kalamkari kaleidoscope

Artist Ramesh Gorjala weaves a stirring narrative in kalamkari by fusing traditional art with contemporary forms

His treasured artworks are a sheer atlas of deities and mythological figures, striking in forms and stunning in rendition. Devoted vahanas — the mounts of the venerated gods and goddesses — find rich expression in the media art inspired by kalamkari, at the solo show of artist Ramesh Gorjala, titled Vahanas, at Gallery Nvya in Delhi.

“I chose vahanas as they are closely associated with gods. Vahanas are equally important as each one of our Gods is significant. They have always been underplayed and through my artworks, I have tried to contribute to this art form,” says Ramesh, having stroked the figures of the animals and deities in the religious iconography with great flourish, using brilliant ochres and saffron, emerald greens, limpid blues and mango yellows with relish. Symbolic of divine power, the tridents and winged lions form the ode along with elephants, bulls, Garuda and peacocks. He weaves a stirring narrative of traditional Kalamkari with contemporary art forms, making it a perfect blend of both worlds. 

Artist Ramesh Gorjala weaves a stirring narrative in kalamkari by fusing traditional art with contemporary forms

Ramesh’s early years amidst the artisans in Andhra Pradesh made him soak up art subconsciously as he grew up surrounded by traditional Kalamkari paintings of mythological characters and stories, created on walls, scrolls and fabrics all around him in his village. “I come of a town called Kalahasi where sculptures on temple walls and beyond speak volumes,” he shares. “As a child, I was fascinated by this visual imagery and storytelling. My first formal attempt to narrate a story through mythological figures in Kalamkari-inspired art came during my master’s in fine arts when I created a story inside a God’s figure. That marked a new beginning for me, of telling stories inside big figures, During the pandemic, I had ample time to experiment with forms and worked on a dimension different from my signature work.” Visual fluidity The mixed media acrylic canvas brings in smaller figures shaped with Rotaract pens of different sizes, with the outer figure shading in black acrylic. The primary theme runs in metric colours, marke…

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Herald

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