Courtesy: Sri Sujit Sivanand

Veenapoovu / Mahakavi Kumaran Asan

Digital image used with written permission from the copyright holder.

About the painting

Sri Sujit Sivanand says, "It was in 2009 that I contacted Spanish artist Antonio Guzman Capel as I was fascinated by his art combining both hyper-realism of the subject & foreground, and explicit abstractions of the background. His portraits were filled with life and realism, yet he always used textures to emphasize it was art. I was looking for an artist to bring life into an old portrait photograph of poet Kumaran Asan.

Though the Black & White photograph was shot in a studio background, it has some sort of enchantment in the setting. The subject (Asan) was set on a 1/3rd of the frame-following the popular 'rule of the thirds'. Somehow the original photo itself was not sharp, as the subject had moved while the exposure was captured on slow-speed film of those days. So one side of Asan's face was blurred and distorted.

Over these years Capel and I have been in the discussion of this project and he started the canvas some months ago. I shared with him a collection of Asan's photographs and images of Ravi Varma's paintings for him to become familiar with south Asian attire and skin tones. I always told him to take his own time and do it in moments that he could spare time to get it all right. We've been working on the details, off and on, for months.

The scene created is based on the photograph, but with many imaginative additions. It's simply a fantasy frame of the poet taking a break to look at us (or the camera) while writing, seated in the outdoor patio. The fallen flower on the table is the theme (commemorating 'Veenapoovu' the poem).

My mother is the one who seeded in me an interest and liking for Kumaran Asan's poetry. I wish she was there today to see this, and it's the thought that went through my mind-every time Capel and I discussed filling the frame with more flowers-it was Mom's passion for both flowers and poetry. It is now set in the 'floral garden' ('Pushpavadi' is also the name of a collection of Asan's poems). Thanks to Capel, the maestro del arte, these ideas have all come to life on this canvas."

LOKAM congratulates Antonio Guzman Capel for this notable work.

Sree Narayana Guru