Art for charity: College of Architecture Trivandrum’s ‘Varadanam’

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Students and members of the faculty of College of Architecture Trivandrum hold ‘Varadanam’, an exhibition-cum-sale to raise funds for the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund

I expect models of buildings, sketches and perhaps a fancy sculpture or two when I drop by at an exhibition organised by the students of College of Architecture Trivandrum. But on display at ‘Varadanam’ are paintings. Instead of buildings, there are images of gods and goddesses, picturesque landscapes, sketches of celebrities and more done in mediums such as watercolour, acrylic, pencil sketches, charcoal… Greeting cards and dream catchers are also exhibited.

The exhibition-cum-sale, a brainchild of Chris Hynse, a first year undergraduate student of architecture of the college, is being held to raise money for the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund towards rebuilding Kerala post the recent flood.

According to Chris, the exhibition is his way of doing his bit for the cause. “I didn’t want to ask my folks for money. Wondering how I could achieve my goal, I came upon this idea.” When he shared that in his batch’s Whatsapp group they supported him. Soon 120 members in the group got busy with making their art works during the Onam holidays. The faculty members who got a whiff of their project soon came on board. Their seniors also chipped in.

According to Feba Tosh, Chris’ classmate, there are around 200 paintings on exhibit. “Most students have submitted a minimum of three paintings,” says Feba, who has done six paintings. Among them is the acrylic work of a lion that has its proud mane in a riot of bright colours. White flowers stand tall on a canvas while two paintings depict mountain scenes.

Chris’ canvases have line drawings. While one has abstract images of zebras, the other two have human images. Merly Sara Wilson with her black and white sketch of a woman with a Mona Lisa smile and part of her face shielded wants “to convey how not everyone is able to express themselves easily”. She is fond of cats and there is a painting of a cat with a garland in the background.

Hrithik K H has juxtaposed silhouettes against a polka-dotted watercolour background. Captivating is his image of Marilyn Monroe in her iconic pose. A chuffed Abhijith Vijayan says his image of Ganesha in earthen tones was chosen as a gift to Soorya Krishnamoorthy who was the chief guest at the exhibition.

A series of sketches on celebrities such as Tovino Thomas, Dulquer Salmaan and Lionel Messi is worth a dekkho as are a few pen drawings that incorporate geometric and organic patterns.

The Mandala paintings are soothing, while a few images make one stop to ponder at man’s misuse of Nature’s bounty.

Gopika J, an assistant professor at the college, has focussed on landscapes and birds. While the landscapes are inspired by her hometown, Alappuzha, the images of birds are from her observation of various species of birds. Most of her paintings have been sold out. Says Chris: “We consciously chose subjects that most people could relate to such as landscapes, images of flowers, people…”

Rates of the paintings, which start from ₹200, have been determined by the faculty members. The exhibition at Museum Auditorium is on until September 23. There will be a live sketch counter, a mehandi counter, a face painting counter and games at the exhibition as well. Time: 10 am to 6 pm

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