Laxman Aelay
b. 1964

Aelay Laxman is highly a reputed artist for his contemporary depictions of the rural Telangana imagery. Laxman Aelay’s craft is a craft of realism. His vibrant quasi-realistic paintings and arduously drawn imagery evoke a sense of apprehension and nostalgia. His men and women in typical Telangana attire proclaim their cultural identity.He inspiration may be varied – it may be political, ancient to modern ethnography, music and musical instruments, performers, motifs, posters, prints, colours, flowers or the common people we come across on any street in India. But there is the mastery of technique of delivering all of the above in every picture without as much as a small aberration. The lines are blurred and images are blended so well that the elements and colours never look out of place in the given setting. His subjects are about themselves, their lives; they are not posing for the artist or the viewer. It is as though they have chosen not to pay attention to the viewer. He refers to his subjects lovingly as his ‘fellow travellers’.

Laxman’s canvases are like photographs being printed from a rather resilient memory: of the moment, with microscopic detailing, the combination of colours and play of light quite natural and perfect, despite the strength of certain colours and elements. There is never a dull moment in his canvases. Just when by the limits of our imagination we start to expect a clean horizon or a pictorial depth, we encounter a background patterned with kalamkari prints, episodes of birds and animals from the painted scrolls used by the mandahechelu in performances or patapradarshana (the use of song, story and scrolls to present the story of the golla or the shepherd caste. Many elements like a flower or poster quite amply filling spaces, fighting to be seen but never subduing the main imagery. Many of his works also derive from the Padmashali artists (performing artists)who are known as ‘propagators of the herd or flock’.

Laxmna Aelay’s own lineage is part of this story. He belongs to the Padmashali caste. His father was a weaver and Laxman grew up amidst texture, colour, motif and design. Starting as a signboard painter he grew on to become a cut and paste artist with the Telugu daily, Eenadu in the pre-computer era. He is currently pursuing Ph.D. studying Nakashi painting and Dalit bahujan performing art forms.

Burma Rising

April 29th – May 14th 2017

Burma Rising | First Contemporary Art Show from Myanmar in Boston

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