My first full day in Chennai - and on Sunday I went to an art exhibition, a group endeavour to raise funds for a fellow artist who has been unwell.
Among the artists displaying was my friend Yusuf Madhiya, who is shown here with two examples of his work. He has a very distinct style which has brought him considerable success.
The lower of his two art works is his rendition of the spirit of the wood, included below along with the work of some of the other artists displaying:
I didn't arrive in time for the official opening - or the address by the guest of honour, an artist whose name is Trotsky ... and if you think that's a surprising moniker for Tamil Nadu, don't forget that the state's chief minister is Stalin.
(I seem to remember that Stalin and Trotsky mark 1 didn't rub along too well - I've no idea how things are between their current day namesakes).
The venue was an old Gandhian institution, the Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya Samithi, which has some delightful touches of architectural style though its level of upkeep is less delightful:
Thakkar Bapa was a Gandhian and social activist who worked particularly on behalf of Dalits and of Adivasis, India's tribal communities. Indeed, he is said to have devised the word 'adivasi' as a respectful term for forest dwellers and those of tribal heritage.
His bust is, need I say, on display - graced by what appear to be a real pair of glasses! I hope they got the lens prescription right ...
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