Art and Craft in ThiruvananthapuramThiruvananthapuram has a rich and long tradition of art, especially from the days of the celebrated painter Raja Ravi Varma. He was born in Kilimanoor and started his career under the patronage of the then maharaja of Travancore, Ayilyam Thirunal and went on to achieve worldwide fame after winning an award for his paintings at the Vienna Art Exhibition in 1873. He is considered the pioneer of portraiture and oil paintings which combine Indian themes with European techniques. As many as 43 of his works are exhibited at the Chithra Art Gallery which is attached to the Napier Museum.
The Chithra Art Gallery boasts many original works of Raja Ravi Varma, Rabindranath Tagore, Nicholas Roerich, Svetoslav Roerich, Jamini Roy and K C S Panicker. Many miniatures and paintings of the Mughals, Rajputs and the Tanjore and Bengali schools are displayed here.
The K C S Panicker Gallery for contemporary art is also popular with art lovers. It was set up in honour of the painter K C S Panicker who was in the forefront of the Progressive Painters Association and was devoted to metaphysical themes. He was also one of the founders of the Cholamandalam Arts Village in Chenna and was one of the pioneers of contemporary art in India.
A Ramachandran Nair is another well-known contemporary painter who hails from Thiruvananthapuram. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2005 and was elected a Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 2002. He began his career by painting murals depicting urban life and later moved on to depicting tribals and scenes from the epics. He has studied the murals of Kerala extensively.
Craft also has a rich tradition in Thiruvananthapuram. The Village Fair showcases a range of crafts from pottery to bronze statues. Visitors can experience traditional life in the old days in a village recreated with a traditional mansion (nalukettu), temple, houses and marketplace.
Suarabhi, the Kerala State Handicrafts Apex Cooperative Society, showcases the arts and crafts of artisans from all over the state. This includes works crafted in rosewood, sandalwood, banana fibre, screwpine, papier mache, cane, coir, bell metal, aluminium, clay, straw and coconut shell. The Handicrafts Development Cooperation also showcases various products made out of wood, metal, buffalo horn, screwpine and various other materials. It is located at the SMSM Institute in Puthenchanthai. Kairaili is a similar stat government enterprise and is located on MG Road. Typical items include Kathakali masks, oil lamps, Aranmula metal mirror, coconut shell containers, carved wooden boxes with metal decoration, wooden elephants, carved snake boats and carved statues.
Art Galleries in Thiruvananthapuram
Art galleries in Thiruvananthapuram display works of contemporary artists as well as copies of famous artists such as Raja Ravi Varma. These include oil painting, water colours and other media. These art galleries are all centrally located in the city.
Art Smart in Thiruvananthapuram
Sahodara Samajam Road, Pazhavangadi
Thiruvananthapuram - 695001
Tel: +91 471 2577277
Bhavageetham Art Gallery
Shasthamangalam Road, Althara Nagar
Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram - 695010
Tel: +91 471 3258622
Energy Art Gallery in Thiruvananthapuram
No. 4/1632, Palace Road, Kowdiar
Thiruvananthapuram - 695003
Tel: +91 9846770001
Leaf Art Gallery
Near Vylopilli Samskrithi Bhavan, Nalanda
Nanthancode, Thiruvananthapuram - 695033
Tel: +91 9946556553
Palakkal Art Gallery in Thiruvananthapuram
Malankara Building Complex, University of Kerala Senate House Campus
Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram - 695033
Tel: +91 471 2475905
Tandem Art Gallery
General Hospital Road, Statue Junction
Thiruvananthapuram – 695001
Tel: +91 471 3019001