Hiroshima here I come-artist KMG paints to battle (Kurian Pampadi )

Kurian Pampadi Published on 24 February, 2024
 Hiroshima here I come-artist KMG paints to battle  (Kurian Pampadi )

Guernica is a large oil painting by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso acclaimed as one of the most powerful anti-war art work in history.  Created in 1937, it is exhibited in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. 

I am almost sure that the peripatetic theosopher turned artist KMG of Kottayam has had a close scrutiny of it in its original ferocity or many of its evocative avatars in museums in Europe where he spent many of his younger years. 

KMG's The Ghost City critiqued by Roy Paul IAS (Rtd)

Hence his memory of war and its excruciating miseries ascend in one of his paintings that he has named The Ghost City in his first solo staged at the Kanai Kunhiraman Art Gallery of the Kottayam Pubic Library.

One cannot but ascend the steps to the Gallery without crossing the shadow of Kerala's latest larger than life sculpture by Kanai himself that stand as sentinel to the 142-year old Library. Kanai has named the statue of the mother and child as Akshara Mata or Mother of Letters, obviously as a tribute to the small town acclaimed as the City of Letters.

KMG with Dr. Sujarani Mathew and PhD scholars Ardra and Mareena

Kanai  the 86 year old sculptor himself was the guest of honour at the opening of the week long Solo of paintings and sculptures by KMG or Fr. Dr. K M George who has studied at Ecole des Baeux Arts, Paris during his European sojourn. 

KMG did his higher studies in Paris and Louvain Universities before serving the World Council of Churches in Geneva as Moderator and subsequently the Orthodox Seminary in Kottayam as Principal and Mahatma Gandhi University as Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios Chairperson.   

Kanai Gallery opened by artist, Abr Ittycheria, Shaji Venkedath

While going around the ensemble of the select best of his paintings, I was baffled by Synapse 77, the very name attributed to it. The well laid out brochure explained it as: 'Synapses are connections between neurons or brain cells for communication to the whole body. In our context, it stands for openness to new learning and creative communication through the medium of art.'

I was stuck at the corner paining bearing the name 'The Ghost City.' In modern context it could be from anywhere, from Kyiv in Ukraine to Gaza in Israel. To go back in history, it could be Paris burned by Hitler's  bombs or the City of New York scorched by the Islamic terrorists in their World Trade Centre attack. Or Hiroshima standing as a spectre of devil's incarnation.

Kiran C Kurian at a painting open for viewers' inputs

The painting of the darkened sky-scrappers are wrapped by tree barks collected by the artist from driftwood on a swollen river during the devastating floods. "Is there a name for the art of covering a sketch by drift wood barks?' I asked KMG. He said 'No name. You can call it pareidolia or attribution. It is the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern, the human ability to see shapes or make pictures out of randomness.

Well, I was shocked because I have visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki where Oppenheimer-made atomic bombs killed 1,29,000 and 2,26,000 men, women and children on August 6 and 9 1945. The Hiroshima Museum unmasked the horrors of destruction that claimed innumerable lives and maimed many thousands for generations. 

Syrian sisters Martha and Martha: Simon and son Aquilas

I am also reminded of a beautiful French film Hiroshima mon Amour (My Love, Hiroshima), a 1959 romantic drama directed by French director Alain Resnais and written by French author Marguerite Duras. 

Its theme is also the pangs of war-a French actress appearing in an anti-war film in Hiroshima falls in love with a Japanese architect to offer their differing view on war. She breaks away from her short affair and returns home. Resnais also made an acclaimed short film on artist Van Gogh. 

Before a hanging drift wood sculpture

I missed many of the pleasant evenings in the cool Gallery where acclaimed artists or critics made commentaries on current problems of artists and the impact of art in its anti-war statements. One was Prof Dr. Gudrun Loewner from Germany who teaches art history in UT College, Bangalore. She was followed by an array of distiguished speakers like Dr. KM Venugopal and KB Prasanna Kumar, Abrham Ittycheria, President of the KPL who presided over the opening is always proud that his Library was older than New York Public Library that he had visited. While KPL has around 200,000 books in store, the NYPL is depository of 53 million items with 93 locations. But small is beautiful-besides four subsidiary libraries, KPL has a Nature Club, Yoga Club, Music Club and a Mini Theatre opened recently by Adoor Gopalakrishnan.  

Parvathi teacher interpreting The Fish Body quoting the Bhagvat Gita

The Scrabble Club opened on Saturday is the latest. I found two of my revered friends, Roy Paul, former chairman of Air India and member UPSC and Club chair Prof. Dr. Teresa Joseph doing the inaugural rounds. This could be a game changer for the fully literate municipal town snailing towards emerging a Corporation.

 Hiroshima here I come-artist KMG paints to battle  (Kurian Pampadi ) Hiroshima here I come-artist KMG paints to battle  (Kurian Pampadi ) Hiroshima here I come-artist KMG paints to battle  (Kurian Pampadi )
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Mereena Eappen 2024-02-24 17:50:55
Each stroke of the brush carry Fr.Dr.K.M.George's artistic vision of story telling. His paintings in acrylic,water colour and wooden sculptures truly explore realms of both familiar and spiritual expression.
Allen P J 2024-02-24 19:31:05
It was a mindful experience on visiting the Kottayam Public Library to see the paintings of Fr. KMG.. Feels to look forward for more paintings.
Mereena Grace Eappen 2024-02-25 01:14:11
Each stroke of the brush carries Fr. KMG's artistic vision of story telling. His paintings in acrylic,water colour; and wooden sculptures truly explore realms of both familiar and spiritual expression.
Simon Mathew 2024-02-25 05:23:26
A great experience, though I have seen most of KMG's paintings at his home, got the opportunity to go through his new works also. Excellent work of mind,intelligence and hand.
Dr. Sujarani Mathew, KE College, Nannanam, Kottayam 2024-02-25 10:50:04
Glad to be part of an erudite and informative piece on KMG's versatile talents. Thanks for the pride of place it gave us though we were just watching and learning to get inspired.
Dr. Sujarani Mathew, KE College, Mannanam, Kotttayam 2024-02-25 10:55:24
Thanks for the pride of place the feature on Fr. Dr. KM George gave us. He is a versatile genius. Also glad to be part of an erudite and informative piece.
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