"The Norman Rockwell of South India"
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Sharat Sunder R
Dr. Stephen Inglis has done a great job by bringing out the life and works of artist Madhavan. Here, in Kerala, the great artists birthplace almost everyone has forgot him. There are some discrepancies in the section which talks about the ancestry of the artist. the author of this comment is also a descendant of the same guild of craftsmen and has done some research on the origin and history of the guild. The great grand father of Madhavan, Ananthapadmanabhan Achari (his real name is Kochu Kunju Achari) was not the architect of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple. Ananthapadmanabhan Achari (title) was an accomplished ivory craftsman of his times. Ananthapadmanabhan had a son named Neelakandan whose daughter Narayani (Kali Ammal) was the mother of Madhavan. The information given about his maternal uncle, that he was the Principal of School of arts is also wrong. The maternal uncle, Padmanabhan Achari was the head ivory carver of the school. For further information I would like the administrators of this website to help me get in touch with Dr. S. Inglis, because currently I am writing a book about the ivory craftsmen of Trivandrum, and artist Madhavan is a member of the same guild. Mr. Inglis, with his expertise in this field can help me a lot and also, we will be able to share the information we have about the artist and his guild. Sharat Sunder Rajeev Second year, P.G. Dept of Architectural Conservation School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi
This essay, by Stephen Inglis, is an important milestone in research on popular visual culture in India. Inglis compiles and organizes numerous oral history references about K. Madhavan's multiple connections to the publishing industry, advertising, cinema and politics to produce a richly detailed historical portrait of this south Indian artist. I am particularly struck by Inglis' thesis that K. Madhavan's prolific visual output, that appeared in a wide range of contexts, shaped the stylistic development of popular visual imagery not just in Tamil Nadu but throughout the country.
The occasion of the presentation of the exhibition “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell” (continuing at the Winnipeg Art Gallery until May 20, 2012), has prompted much discussion, including the following excerpt from a major review by Kate Taylor in the Globe and Mail (March 03, Globe Arts P.R7). This too, could apply as much to Madhavan as to Rockwell. “In contrast to the art-for-art’s-sake school, Rockwell’s paintings stand out not merely for their belated political engagement but for their lifelong social engagement, their observation of human relations and their affection for daily life. Today , when the distinction between high and low art matters so much less than it did in 1956, that engagement can simply be relished.”