Murali Nagapuzha
to bring out the essence of nature as an unordered, hyper-realistically beautiful thing
 
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Here is an exhibition that should lift your spirits. Putting aside her cerebral and post-modernist concerns, Alka Pande-easily the most active art curator in the country-brings to the capital the wondrous works of the not-so-well-known Kerala painter Murali Nagapuzha. This 47-year-old, self-taught artist first attracted attention two decades ago with his epochal paintings of Basheer With His Characters, a whimsical tribute to Vaikom Muhammed Basheer, the renowned Malayalam writer and novelist.
At first glance, with his celebration of nature in depiction of a naive verdant idyll, Nagapuzha's style is rather reminiscent of that of the French (also self-taught) genius Henri Rousseau (1844-1910).
But that would be a facile observation. For unlike Rousseau, Nagapuzha populates his idyll with a narrative that is located in his own experience. Whereas the French painter had to conjure up his tropicalised landscapes from his imagination to the extent that they fell in the realm of what was later termed as surrealism by European admirers, Nagapuzha, living in lush rural Kerala, had only to look out of his window to be inspired. As Pande put it: "He did remind me a bit of Rousseau in the lushness of his landscape, but what was startling was the way he presented humans in his works. Besides, his mastery over the medium, the play of fantasy and the sensuality of painting was simply entrancing."

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