Realising that Mohiniattam dance form blended well with traditional Kerala murals, Kalamandalam Bindhulekha was quick to discover her fancy for the medium, says Divya GS
Till Kalamandalam Bindhulekha, a Mohiniattam dancer, completed a mural painting on the walls of the VadakurumbaKavu Temple in Thrissur district of Kerala in 2003, the medium was a male bastion. In fact, she broke into this bastion without even realising that she was doing that. “I knew women rarely engaged in mural paintings. But mine was not a purposeful attempt to change the traditional ways. I came to mural painting accidentally,” she says. It took two years for her to complete the work. And she had to work almost all days since 2001 to complete it. “While doing murals on the temple walls using natural colours, the artist usually chants shlokas. The sanctity of the temple premises oozes into your mind. The feeling that one is close to the divinity is supreme. The reward is more than work satisfaction or money. It’s like a spiritual journey,” says Bindhulekha. “Being a debutante, I never had the courage to go ahead with the big project at Vadakurumba Kavu Temple. It was with wavering mind and trembling hand that I started to draw, but it happened,” she adds. Though she had associated with some other temple works too, she never let her creative self to confine to temple walls. She had conducted several painting exhibitions in different parts of the country.
A synthetic blend of traditional murals and modern styles makes her art stand out. In ‘Voyage of Dreams’, a series of works showing the individuality of the painter in her, this blend can be viewed in all its beauty. “In Voyage of Dreams, I am exploring all the possibilities of my creativity. One can see my own stamp in this series of paintings. It’s not like the traditional works. I have incorporated some elements of modern art in it,” she says. Interestingly, Bindhulekha who walked smoothly into the realm of mural painting had no formal training in that area. She mastered the art from her brother-in-law and guru Sadanandan. Though trained formally in Bharathanatyam and Mohiniyattom from Kerala Kalamandalam, Bhindulekha feels more connected to painting now. “I consider painting as a medium of communication. I can express my mind through these colours,” she says. Yet, reflections of her knowledge in the classical dance forms can be felt in some of her paintings.