Drawings and Sculptures by Lead Chennai Artist K Shyam Kumar on Display After 15 Years


K Shyam Kumar’s intricate stippling designs, years in the making, are on display with his sculptures after 15 years

K Shyam Kumar’s intricate stippling designs, years in the making, are on display with his sculptures after 15 years

K Shyam Kumar’s drawings hold the viewer’s full attention. Each painting is extremely detailed, a continuum of lines and dots that forge forts, pyramid structures and human faces. Part of a pen and ink series titled The Steps for Mukhti, the drawings are on display in an exhibition, My Planet, at the Varija Art Gallery in DakshinaChitra.

The exhibition presents 15 drawings and 25 sculptures in bronze and granite. These drawings, which are on layered and textured surfaces, are among his works from the 2000s.

The Chennai-based artist and sculptor, who prefers to work in isolation, hasn’t had a solo exhibition for 20 years. “I take at least four months to six on a painting,” he says, of his lengthy creative process. Cut off from the noise of the world, Shyam often withdraws into himself, consumed by work. “It all starts with the dot,” he says of the designs, which each contain thousands of dots. “It takes the utmost patience and for me it’s a meditative process.”

One of Shyam Kumar's stippling drawings

One of Shyam Kumar’s stippling drawings

Shyam, who holds a graduate degree in sculpture from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai, began his artistic practice as early as 1979. He says he is intrigued by the infinity of the cosmos, its darkness and emptiness. regard his works as a mixture of mysticism, fantasy and science fiction. One of his earliest works, a terracotta sculpture he made as a student, was a reclining figurine, resembling that of Steven Spielberg.
HEY which drew mixed reactions at the time.

A stone sculpture

A stone sculpture

Although Shyam works in stone and bronze for his sculptures, terracotta is his unwavering passion. He has just completed an eight-foot-tall terracotta sculpture in Dakshinachitra, which is waiting to be fired.

In the living room, while the granite sculptures seem to be in a meditative trance, with their eyes closed, those in bronze have their eyes open. “If you notice, none of the sculptures have ears,” Shyam says, adding that they are representative of himself in isolation, refusing to let in the noise of the world.

On view until February 10 at the DakshinaChitra Museum, Muttukadu.


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