KOCHI: Writer Joseph Joubert has said “Monuments are the grappling irons that bind one generation to another.” The efforts by Dinesh R Shenoy, an ardent monochromatic painter from Mattanchery, clearly indicates that he is rightly treading the aforementioned path. Shenoy believes that by compiling a memorabilia of 300 age-old buildings in the state, he is building a bridge through which the posterity can have a peep on their past.
Shenoy says his experimentation in monochromatic painting began 12 years back. “I was watching the demolition of an old building and one of my friend casually remarked that old buildings have to be demolished to make way for new. This sparked of a new thought in me for I knew that age-old building carries a bundle of memories and it should not be shoved off to the oblivion. This made me usher into a new arena of oil portraits in monochromatic sepia,” he says.
Imprinting heritage on a sheet of canvas is not an easy task, says Shenoy. He says that he used to travel extensively across the state to find out such outstanding and antique buildings. “I undertake a direct study to do a painting. It would never serve the purpose, if I paint it in the confines of four walls. Hence I directly go to the site to capture the structure into the canvas. It usually takes seven to eight days to complete such portraits,” he says.
Shenoy says the fact that Kerala has more than 1,000 such buildings which would soon go to the oblivion if not properly taken care of. “I found it rather surprising. I have charted out more than 1,000 such buildings with my limited resources. I am sure and certain that there would be more,” he said.
As to why he chose this particular genre of painting, Shenoy says that this particular genre of painting gives a guarantee of 500 years. “What more you need to preserve the cultural heritage,” he asks.
Moreover, he says this is also “an attempt to revive a genre of painting”. “ This is an honest attempt to tell others that there exists a style or school which could teach a lot about painting. For me, this is definitely not lucrative. I do not sell these collections,” he says.
On his experience as a painter, he says he was shell-shocked when he found one of his picture in Wikipedia. “They neither sought my permission to use my portraits nor gave a courtesy underneath my pictures,” he says.
published in The New Indian Express