Between the Rain and the Mind…,Or It is Mind Raining… Dhanaraj Keezhara presents his new painting series, titled – “I SHALL DIE IN A HEAVY RAIN” For Dhanaraj, the medium of painting is a tool to express his feelings, imaginations and philosophy of life. In the exibition in 2006 - Truth from the Margin he visualized the marginalized communities. The current series captures the emotions associated with rain and is also a critical commentary on destruction to the environment. As a study of the politics of water, Dhanaraj’s work explores related issues such as global warming, land-mining and consumerism. These frames are a stark contrast to scenes from his own village that describe the land in rainy seasons – scenes that depict vibrant life.Titles Manasu Peyyunnu or ‘mind raining’, these frames offer a live visual experience of rain in the village. It takes the viewer from blue swirling winds and black clouds of gloom to shafts of light and liveliness, and to rain-drenched green fields of happiness. Yet what is impossible to translate into words is the artist’s ‘real time’ experiences. What it is possible to feel is the intricate weaving of several strands of thought and feeling. Nostalgic imagination, ideological perspective, economic and political commentary and ethnic insight all weave themselves together. Finally, it is these merging streams of artistic intuition and current reality that draws in the viewer. Dhanaraj’s Keezhara’s title “I Shall Die in a Heavy Rain” suggests a mind trying to register his anxiety and protest. These frames of nostalgic rainy landscape and rhythmic mystic rain provide a context for deep meditation or reflection within the discursive structure of society. The painter explicitly points out the innumerable environmental hazards created by men, and an increasing human estrangement from nature, of which we have become a silent witness. Jalasamadhi, for instance, dedicated to Plachimada movement, unveils the strategic plots behind the emerging economy of bottled water culture. Representations of politics and nostalgia are juxtaposed with the diverse melodies of raining, drizzling, and pouring, which the artist depicts using bright and thick colours. Further, the paintings describe that in between the emotions and politics, in between the drizzles and raindrops, there is a moment of silence. It is in this silent space one can meditate and search oneself, and hence the name “mind raining”. Dhanaraj Keezhara’s work emerges from the negotiations of people with their society and environment. Fired by a belief in art's ability to heal and renew a world torn asunder by violence and strife, he has continuously involved himself in community initiatives and education. From his student days at the College of Fine Arts, Kannur, through his ten year stint at various NGO’s and his present work at CHRISTEL HOUSE INDIA Bangalore, art has always been a means of connecting with people and sharing his emotions and experiences. He has lived and worked with several indigenous communities including the tribal communities of Wayanad in Kerala, the Lambani community of Bidar, bordering Karnataka and Maharashtra as well as the Narmada valley community during the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Campaign). These experiences and dialogues continue to enrich his work.
Dr. Sujith Parayil