FAMED painter K. Damodaran passes away

Acclaimed  abstract artist and painter K. Damodaran, 84, has breathed his last at his residence at Kalavihar in East Delhi. Hailing from Thalassery in Kerala, he made his mark on Abstract Painting. He has won numerous awards and exhibitions in India and abroad.  He had held exhibitions at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, Delhi Sahitya Kala  Parishad, Chennai National College of Arts, Delhi National College of Modern Arts, and the Punjab University Museum. Over fifty exhibitions were held in the United States, Japan, Yugoslavia, Algeria, Cuba, Germany and Korea.

He was awarded the Madras Lalit Kala Akademi Award in 1964. He was a Fellow of the Department of Cultural Affairs from 1983 to 1985. In 2006, he was awarded the Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship. He retired from the Kendriya Vidyalaya as a painting teacher. He graduated from Brennan College, Thalassery, and worked at Simpson & Company and joined Madras College of Arts. He married TK Padmini, a famous painter who studied with him.  After her sudden demise, Damodaran moved to the capital. VANDANA KALRA says ‘’in artist K Damodaran’s canvases numerous subjects took myriad forms. Blending colours and textures, his abstracts were an expression of his mindscape and compositions that urged viewers to form their own interpretations. On June 15, with his demise, Indian art lost one of its prominent abstract artists. He was unwell for some months. “I really admired the way he used colours and spaces. Unfortunately, he did not get the credit that he deserved,” says art critic Prayag Shukla. Damodaran’s initial influences were his surroundings. A student of art at Government College of Arts and Crafts in Madras, in the ’60s he was part of the group of young artists who were close to KCS Paniker, founder of Cholamandal Artists’ Village and leading figure in the Madras Art Movement. “This was when there was a revival happening, with emphasis on Indian roots… His (Damodaran’s) works were different. He was painting a landscape of his own entity and land,” says artist Sumedh Rajendran. ‘’In a career spanning over five decades, his initial experiments with figuration soon gave way to abstracts. Based in Delhi, his works travelled to exhibitions across the world and are part of prestigious collections, including the National Gallery of Modern Art. In a memoir dedicated to his wife, artist TK Padmini who died in 1969 — reported published in Malaya Nadu and reproduced online — Damodaran wrote: “One cannot continue to be a painter if he is merely driven by the temptation to amass wealth or an irresistible eagerness to become famous”. Recalling his conversations with the artist, Shukla says, “He would often express his displeasure regarding conversations of commerce in art.”

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