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Roars of Vermilion

മറനീക്കുന്ന ചായില്യം

Acrylic on 20x24' canvas

Voices from within keep deafening the wails of suffering flooding the outside world. To everyone struggling out there feeling helpless, it’s okay to let your guard down once in a while. Let the screams of anger, guilt, depression and anxiety out. From the pretense of a smile let the roars of vermilion out!

Kathakali, a traditional Keralan art-form, in all its complexity and splendour tells stories from the roots of the mythological India. With the essence of characters churned into the colours and makeup portraying them, each performance of Kathakali lasts for anything between 6-10 hours, performed in a variety of avenues in Kerala. The magnificent, yet dying art-form breaks down human emotions or modes to nine basic ones, known as Navarasangal or the Navarasas adding more intricacies to the art-form. On the left, Green or Pacha, depicts ‘good’ characters, shown in Shantham, or the peaceful mode. The other side in Chayilyam (vermilion), traditionally known as Chuvanna Thaadi (red-bearded), is designed for the most evil characters, without an ounce of love or tranquility in them, painted here in Roudram, or the furious mode.

This piece tries to stitch the well-cut edges of goodness and evil together, as a tribute to mental health challenges that many, including myself, face. I thought that pretending to smile will help to overcome dark days, but it gets exhausting while forgetting deeper lying issues.

A reminder to myself and those who need it, at least occasionally, to let the scream out!

See a mild BTS with voice-over here.

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