My Experience at the Lokame Tharvadu

Lokame Tharvadu

The Lokame Tharavadu was an Art exhibition in Alappuzha, Kerala, inaugurated in April 2021, continuing until the end of the year. Its name, drawn from verses by acclaimed Malayali poet Vallathol Narayana Menon, translates to “the world is one family”. Featuring Native artists, this exhibition is curated by Kochi Biennale founder Bose Krishnamachari

I had the privilege of visiting the Lokame Tharavadu in late 2021. As an amateur artist myself, it was a visually intoxicating experience.

I flew down to Kochi and drove to Alappuzha to visit the exhibition. Alappuzha is a coastal town with a gentle calmness found only in suburban areas. There are few tall buildings in sight, and the people have a certain genuineness about them—the perfect setting for an art exhibition.

The event exhibited the work of over 260 Malayali artists from all over the world. It was divided into five venues, spread across the town. Each artist was given a demarcated space to display their pieces, along with a short write-up about them. I spent a couple of days in the town, visiting each gallery. 

Showcasing 3000 contemporary artworks, the exhibition asked questions regarding people’s conception of their homes and surroundings. It showed Kerala artists in all their glory, fostering a greater appreciation for art in the state.

The ability to visualise art distinguishes the average artist from the great ones. Being able to depict ordinary scenes in ways unseen before strikes the viewer. Art shows the incredible power of human imagination.

Painting based on poem The Blind Man And The Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe

Some works were in colour, others in black and white. Paintings, sculptures, installations—you name it. Each medium was there, including video kiosks displaying audio-visual art. Every piece was produced with care, every twist and turn done with purpose. 

But there is more to an artist than his/her technical skill. The ability to visualise art distinguishes the average artist from the great ones. Being able to depict ordinary scenes in ways unseen before strikes the viewer. Art shows the incredible power of human imagination.

The capacity to conceptualise a piece struck me the most. The ability to imagine is the cradle of all creativity. It shares stories of a human quality that permeates all cultures and artificial boundaries. It unites us as a species, allowing us to think the unthinkable. 

Many do not appreciate contemporary art simply because they can’t comprehend it. They ridicule such works, thinking they know better. We must take the time to understand what goes behind making abstract art.

Untitled work by Smitha G S

In any artistic pursuit, it is essential to see the work of others. Deriving inspiration from fellow artists doesn’t make you unoriginal. The path to creative success takes you to the work of others.

This experience changed my approach towards art. Now, I willingly forgo realism if it calls for exploring a new aspect of myself. Seeing others’ works kindles a fierce awakening in me. It makes me want to delve into new art mediums.

There is a dire need for more such exhibitions around the country. It provides a dual benefit, allowing upcoming artists to showcase their work and exposing the public to forms of creativity otherwise unknown to them. Governments, both state and central, should actively fund and promote such efforts. 

In any artistic pursuit, it is essential to see the work of others. Deriving inspiration from fellow artists doesn’t make you unoriginal. The path to creative success takes you to the work of others.

Art is meant to ask questions, not provide answers. The Lokame Tharvadu exhibition left me thinking and motivated to pick up the paintbrush and paint away.

Cover Image taken from Bose Krishnamachari’s Facebook Page

Artwork by Bhagyanath C

Additional reading

https://thefederal.com/features/lokame-tharavadu-at-alappuzha-a-mega-art-event-that-celebrates-hope-diversity/

https://www.news9live.com/art-culture/lokame-tharavadu-alappuzha-art-beyond-galleries-urban-elite-kochi-biennale-129905?infinitescroll=1

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/lokame-tharavadu-is-creating-a-new-sensibility-bose-krishnamachari/articleshow/86323312.cms

https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/travelnews/story/71685/lokame-tharavadu-the-world-is-one-family

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Published by Ishan Shanavas

I am a young adult, interested in nature, photography, art and culture. An aspiring polymath, I share my learnings through my blog. I also include insights from my favourite books.

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