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Grandeur of Hampi comes alive


New Delhi, Apr 19: The relics of the erstwhile Vijayanagara empire have seemingly come alive here in an ongoing exhibition of one of the most revered historical sites.

Titled "The Fabled Hampi", the exhibition, through 44 odd paintings out of a larger collection, almost takes the viewer on a virtual tour of Hampi, also declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.


Conspicuously, like any painting of a historical monument, this collection by award-winning artist Ganesh Doddamini, too is a testimony to a rich bygone era, but what leaves the viewer beguiled is the way the artist has played with light almost creating a three dimensional effect.

The artist, in an extremely fine manner, fondles with illumination, from different angles, and recreates the nuances of the historical architecture in acrylic on canvas, in both colour and black and white, as well as as water colours.

The fact that Doddamani has made at least 150 paintings on Hampi alone, axiomatically makes one wonder about the artist's fascination with this single monument.

"Every time I saw Hampi, I saw it differently; in a different light, with different surroundings," says the artist.

Diddamani says he visited the site very frequently and the collection is an outcome of his multiple stays and interactions with people there.

"Hampi had become my home," he says. In about half a dozen paintings that are on display at the Art Spice Gallery at the Metropolitan Hotel here, the artist has very interestingly, painted the exterior and interior beside each other.

He magnifies the otherwise minute monumental structures hidden inside the larger, visible construction, much like what a microscopic camera would do, and offers his audience a clearer, closer view of the intricate art work.

A boy can be seen playing a flute in one of the paintings and in another a priest blowing air into a shankh is painted, both with the Hampi in the backdrop.

In these paintings, placed sporadically among the others on exhibit, Doddamani claims to have attempted a parallel between past and present.

"Previously the pillars of Hampi were used to produce music for performances, and today these instruments(shankh and flute) are used to create music," Doddamani explains.

The artist, who has painted mostly in bright hues like yellow ochre, orange and vermilion, "If a painting that is placed in your house makes you happy everytime you look at it, it has served its purpose."

The paintings at the exhibition, scheduled to go on till May 20, are priced between Rs 18,000 to Rs 2,00,000.


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