– Rinku Gupta
Southern heartthrob SURIYA along with younger brother actor Karthi have put together a unique 75th birthday gift for father, veteran film actor Sivakumar. A 3-day exhibtion of Sivakumar’s art works will be on display at the Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai, from 24th October. In an exclusive chat from Georgia, (where the actor is shooting for Singam 3), Suriya tells us why the event is close to his heart…
Legendary Sivaji Ganesan spotted his talent
“Appa’s first identity was that of an artist long before he became an actor. He started painting from the age of 12 right up till his 20’s. In fact he left his village and came to Madras to pursue his passion for art. But he couldn’t procure admission in the famed Government College of Fine Arts on time. In the interim, he happened to meet the legendary thespian Sivaji Ganesan who saw his paintings. Spotting his inherent talent, he suggested that appa join Mohan Arts as a painter so that he could further enhance his skills and not waste time while waiting for admission in the Fine Arts college. At Mohan Arts, Appa worked hard and learnt several new techniques while painting giant hoardings. Later when he joined the Arts College finally, many were impressed with his knowledge and existing body of work,” says Suriya.
The 3-day exhibition ( before actor Sivakumar’s birthday on 27th October)is a unique one since its the first time in over 50 years that the veteran’s paintings will be on public display . “He looks after his art like babies and has never showcased them like this before. We were lucky to get a team to digitally preserve over 400 paintings. In his youth, he would take off on a cycle and has travelled all over India to do many spot paintings of monuments and landscapes in the scorching sun. It’s rare nowadays to find such a mix of portraits and spot paintings by a single artist in mixed mediums. Most people have turned to modern art. This is legacy which we as his children, want to preserve and showcase. The exhibition will a good platform for art lovers to interact over his work. He will be present there on all the days,” says Suriya.
The two brothers have even got two coffee table books on his art ready for the occasion, “Film producer G Dhananjayan has won a National Award for his book on Tamil cinema. He helped us a lot in putting together this event. Several of appa’s artist friends and veteran film colleagues also guided us.”
While Karthi inaugurates the exhibition in the presence of leading artists, Suriya will be present on the closing day.
A tribute to their Appa with love, the exhibition is a befitting 75th birthday gift indeed.