Artwork of the Day: Fisher Women, V.V. Swamy
For V. V. Swamy, the life of an artist is in the blood, and the soil, as well. Son of the Indian artist V. Venkastwarlu, Swamy draws deeply from the culture and colors of his home state of Andhra Pradesh. “Fisher Women” is one of many images that Swamy has painted of South Indian village life. A bright, primary palette, figures that all but fill the picture planes, and flat space and light harken back to classical Indian miniatures, and evoke both the simplicity and the magic alive in traditional communities. Yet this fisher woman’s cell phone is a witty reminder of modernity’s intrusion into Swamy’s pastoral world.
Swamy points out that his birth coincided with Indian art’s transition between a highly formalized tradition and experimental abstract styles that started to make inroads into South Asian art in the 1940s.
The artist’s apprenticeship and training under his father was not necessarily expected of him as a matter of family dharma — in fact, his father resisted the idea:
I started drawing and painting in traditional styles during my childhood. My father, perhaps knowing the problems faced by the artists in those days, never wanted me to become an artist. However, the creative bug never allowed me to sleep and my voyage thus continued taking up painting during night times, when everybody slept.
The approach Swamy takes to art is a very Indian one, rooted in a spiritual tradition illuminated by the inner light of self-awareness.
Painting is, in my view, an evocative expression of the inner vision of an artist influenced by the environment. When the creative bug bites, it awakes the inner urge which never allows me to be complacent. Unknown frontiers of form, color and line emerge to give the work a unique shape/form. Taking the subject, probing it thoroughly and merging human values, goes with the process of creation.
Swamy has created over 2,100 paintings during his 45-year career, in a variety of media and styles. Aside from his many solo and group shows both inside and outside of India, and the international collections that feature his work, Swamy has received recognition and awards from the Indian, Russian and American governments.