Biju Govind

SOMETIME IN August 1997, the literary critic M.N. Vijayan wrote in his column in the Deshabhimani weekly that the illustrations of Chans (Chandrasekharan) were “bold and sure”. Then, as the editor of the publication, he described Chans’ artistic works as a blend of the classical style and the modern.

Chans’ sketches belonged to the classic – realistic style that stood far from the romantic style, he wrote. On Tuesday, while inaugurating Chans’ maiden exhibition ‘Pen to Graphics’ organised by the Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham at the Kozhikode Town Hall, Vijayan did not deviate from what he had written about the illustrator seven years ago. “Like a writer who had few doubts about his vocabulary, Chans’ brushes had few doubts as a painter’, he said. Vijayan went on to speak about how new technology had influenced Chans. ‘The inventions in science and technology have created hurdles in the field of imagination. But Chandrasekharan knows how to overcome them. He has a mind that fears not the developments in the future. So, what inspired Chandrasekharan to hold an exhibition now? ‘I had quite a few collections. Well-wishers suggested I conduct an exhibition. Then with an animation software, I re- worked some of the collections. This is how the exhibition materialised.’ said Chandrasekharan.

A majority of the graphics accompanying stories, poems and write-ups these days dwell too much on the abstract. An abstract drawing is imposed on the reader, said Chandrasekharan, who was an executive member of the Kerala Lalithakala Academy. In a career spanning 34 years, Chans has worked as an artist for the Deshamani weekly, while simultaneously contributing to publications such as India Today, Madhyamam, Vanitha, Manorama Annual, Sthreesabdam and Chithrabhumi.

The illustrations on display at the exhibition include his earlier drawings as well as the recent ones. Most were from the Deshabhimani, also sketches that accompanied the stories of N.S.Madhavan, M.Mukundan and Kamala Surayya in the annual of the Malayala Manorama, and Balachandran Chullikad’s poem in memory of filmmaker Padmarajan in India Today.

The drawings on display are impressive- from the unquestionable lines to the non- ostentatious images. An undisturbed craft; The mouse. The mouse and the pad have not disturbed his craft- whether it is the illustration of a festival or the postman and the woman, an artist at work, a scene beside a dead body, cameraman on his job or those accompanying the serialised memoirs of former Chief Secretary D. Babu Paul in a local Malayalam magazine. As Vijayan said, Chans knows the language of the brush without getting diverted by technology. ‘And that is his right and freedom’ he added.

THE HINDU (News Paper -India) 12-01-2005