Thota Vaikuntam

One of the most sought after eminent artist, who shot to fame with his stylistic depictions of Telangana women is Thota Vaikuntam. His inspiration largely comes from Indian art and strong mythological characters such as Krishna, Bhima, Hanuman and the sensuous women. The earlier theme was erotic before he switched to indigenous subject. Vaikuntam established a pictorial world of women. His obsession of painting women and the source directly comes from his mother whom he drew several times. Her attire, jewellery, costumes and the bindis became his visual vocabulary exemplifying the typical ‘Telangana women’. The physiognomy of the native women is idealized in contrast to the conventional notion of the fair skinned that is considered beautiful. However, it is interesting to see how the artist deconstructs the decorative form with heavy distortions. His pompous women are shown dark, disfigured, yet attractive and sensuous, with their vibrant bindis on turmeric smeared on entire foreheads. The figures are adorned with glitzy nose rings and in dazzling Sircilla sarees which are deliberately abstracted through fluid lines and tones. This paved way to a new genre that is women centric, embellishing her with intricate design and predictable repetition. Thus, his paintings have an iconic presence and are highly sought after in art markets for their formal/ethnic appeal and the embellishment.

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