The Tragic artist!...
Ramanujam’s brush strokes, hues, perspective, and anatomy are all governed by sub-conscious thought in connection with techniques and practices of Vaishnava cult. Born in 1941 in a Vaishnava orthodox family near the famous Parthasarathy Temple at Triplicane, Chennai (then Madras), Ramanujam’s childhood was traumatic, characterised by schizophrenia and depression. As a young boy, he used to draw and paint and sell them for survival. His beloved mother recognized his talent and interest towards painting and enrolled him in the Government School of Arts and Crafts.

Under the care and guidance of K.C.S.Paniker, (Principal), Ramanujam quickly absorbed the technique of painting and began to create a plethora of pictures, each a detailed record of a dream of his, perhaps a reality he hoped to actualize. Ramanujam created a unique style that clearly distinguished him from his contemporaries. His creations were an amalgamation of his personal observations along with strange and eternal thoughts. The works were influenced by Western Baroque style and Indian mythology experienced in his dreams.

Ramanujam’s unique style comprised of line drawings, shading and washing techniques. He also used hatching technique in his paintings. He created an imaginary universe comprised of celestial figures, beasts, motifs, clocks, sun, moon and many intricate patterns, mostly using ink and oil. He portrayed himself in his drawings frequently as a man clad in white shirt, black pants and sometimes wearing a hat. His dominant presence in his creations probably expressed his aspiration to be in the lime-light. Inspired by the architectural wonders and the Vaishnavite symbolism around the area where he lived, Ramanujam’s works correspond to the literary texts also.

Ramanujam’s final days were spent at the Cholamandal Art Village in Chennai where he slipped further into depression. This reflected in his works too which started wearing a gloomy look but by then, he was recognized and admired for his works and he was at the peak of his career. He was commissioned for a remarkable work of mural at Hotel Connemara in Chennai by a renowned architect.

Ramanujam expressed his indulging inner state of mind in all his works. His extra ordinary works created a new approach in Madras Art Movement. The free flowing lines and forms portrayed his intense emotions. During his last days, Ramanujam reflected his painful state of mind in an unfinished painting depicting dark clouds and horizon.

Bring the tunes...