“Art is a way of life for me. I cannot describe the thrill I get when I finish a piece and see my hardwork come to life,” says artist Vignesh Raj. This Coimbatore-based artist was the only one from his city to have recently won a State Award issued by the International Institute of Tamil Studies, for his untitled painting based on the Thirukkural. “There were over 465 entries, out of which 15 were selected. I consider it an honour to share this with artists like M Raja and Jemenne Selva,” he says. The winning paintings are now exhibited at the gallery of the International Institute of Tamil Studies in Chennai.
Award winning painting
Vignesh’s work done in acrylic shows a man and woman in love. “I read the entire Thirukkural for this work and Chapter 112, known as Nalam Punainthuraithal, struck me. It discusses the ideas of love and beauty and decided to depict it in my work.” He says that it was not easy as he started the work just three days before the final date of submission. “I did not know of this competition till another artist told me about it. I quickly composed the work on paper and then painted it on a canvas. I worked for about three hours each day and submitted the piece in the first week of February,” he explains.
A full-time artist, Vignesh has participated in around 60 exhibitions across the country. “Most of my works are inspired by Nature and the culture of Tamil Nadu. While acrylic is my favourite medium, I also work with oil, pencil and watercolours.” He agrees that the lockdown has been a difficult time for artists, saying: “Galleries were closed, and we could not sell our works. I tried to keep myself busy painting and conducting online art classes. Now I have students from around the globe.”
Vignesh is now preparing to exhibit his works in Mumbai and Dubai. “I am done with five paintings, all inspired by Nature. I cannot wait to go back to the galleries and see my works put up on the walls,” he adds hopefully.