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Alva’s Chitrasiri Award 2016

November 11, 2016

Alva’s Chitrasiri Award 2016
by Alva’s Education Foundation
to
Artist par excellence Sri G.L.N. Simha
who can visualise the abstract world of Veda, Purana shlokas into beautiful works of art

alvas-chitrasiri-award-2016-by-alvas-education-foundationChief Guests
Sri Mahantesh Kanti
Assistant Director (Painting Department), Commissioner’s Office, Bengaluru

Sri R.G. Singh
Secretary, Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, Mysuru

President
Dr. M. Mohan Alva
Chairman, Alva’s Education Foundation, Moodbidri

Artist G.L.N. Simha of Kalale village in Nanjangud taluk of Mysuru district will be conferred with the Alva’s Chitrasiri Award. The Alva’s Chitrasiri Award has been instituted by Alva’s Educational Foundation which has been in the forefront of encouraging artistic and literary endeavors. A state level artist workshop starting from 10 November culminates with the presentation of Chitrasiri Award. This year’s Alva’s Chitrasiri Award is being given to Simha whose oeuvre in the field of meditative art is breathtaking.

Simha’s paintings abound in allusions to ancient Vedic legends and Puranic lores and give his works a figurative, narrative, contemplative as well as meditative substance. After having worked as an artist with Sudha and Mayura under the late editor M.B. Singh, Simha quit to become a freelance artist in Mysuru.

In 1988 he moved to the semi-somnolent hamlet of Kalale. His quite modest homestead is picturesquely rustic. The Simha homestead consists of his wife, a son and a daughter, a son-in-law and a granddaughter.

Over the years Simha has been honoured with numerous awards like the Rotary Ramsons Kala Pratishtana Award (2003), Karnataka Lalitakala Academy Honorary Award (2004), M. Veerappa Memorial Award (2004), Tippaji Chitragar Award (2011), M.T.V. Acharya Award (2011), M.V. Minajagi Award (2013) and Sri Vanamali Award (2015).

His paintings have also won the first place in the Mysore Dasara Exhibition for five years in succession in the 1990s. Simha’s major works are in many of the renowned galleries and in collections both in India and abroad including the Museum of Sacred Art in Belgium.

His major works include paintings on Sri Sukta, Purusha Sukta, Ambhrini Sukta, Rudra Sukta, Dasha Mahavidya, Ganesha Purana and Kalika Purana and these are in the collection of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, Mysuru.

G.L.N. Simha – an Ascetic Artist
gln-simhaG.L.N. Simha, (born: 19-12-1937 in Mysuru) was brought up by his sister, Ranganayakamma and her husband, Sreenivasa Acharya. Simha’s early education was at the Parkala Math in Mysore. The Parkala Math was a traditional Patashala where the rigor of Vedic study was taught according to traditional canons. It was here in addition to his other studies that he learned parts of the Krishna Yajurveda required for various rituals.

Simha’s passion for drawing pictures of gods and goddesses was appreciated by his brother-in-law who sought out the Principal of the Chamarajendra Technical Institute (CTI), M.J. Shuddodhana and requested him to admit young Simha to this institute. This was in 1954. The next five years were spent by Simha under the benign eye of teachers, Y. Subramanya Raju, S.N. Swamy and F.N. Soofi.

This period of rigorous apprenticeship at CTI gave Simha the necessary tools to hone his craft, notwithstanding the five-year English paintings syllabus. Simha was also initiated into techniques of Ashtanga Yoga Sadhana by the renowned teacher Sri Srinivasacharya of Lakshmipuram, Mysore.

After completing his Diploma course of study from CTI, Simha began to work in the art department of the Kannada weekly magazines ‘Gokula’ and ‘Kailasa.’ Having contributed illustrations for these Kannada magazines, Simha was then spotted by the doyen of Kannada journalism the Late M.B. Singh, who invited him to join the art department of both Sudha and Mayura.

After serving a couple years, Simha started feeling fettered; he called it a day and quit Sudha and Mayura and moved back to Mysuru where he freelanced as artist. In 1988, he moved to Kalale. It was and continues to be a small village where the Wadiyar royal family customarily chose their Arasu brides.

Kalale is a small secluded village with undulating lanes, houses cheek by jowl and the place itself dominated by the ancient Sri Laskhmikantha Swamy temple. Simha’s house is close to the great temple. His small house has that slightly fragile look. The ‘jagali’ or open veranda is inviting. Couple of leaning coconut trees, the sundry climbing vines, the pot of water by the wicket gate, you slosh your feet with water before entering… another era. This tiny island of tranquillity suited Simha’s lifestyle of contemplation and meditation and provided him with the right ambiance for creating his masterpieces.

Simha creates around one painting a month. Simha does not make copies of his paintings… period. The Dhyana-shloka that he chooses seems to be of some intuitive nature. Simha then meditates on it. Now this is a very private ritual; for no one has seen him at his meditative practices. His family members say that even they are not privy to his spiritual practices. One assumes that Simha spends long hours in intensive meditation on the shloka and the interpretation itself is also inspired.

If Simha finds some flaw or feels that the painting could have been better then he instantly destroys it and starts afresh – this is a matter of great distress to his betterhalf, Smt. Prema.

Simha’s works are in many of the renowned galleries and in collections both in India and abroad. His major works include paintings on Sri Sukta, Purusha Sukta, Ambhrini Sukta, Rudra Sukta, Dasha Mahavidya, Ganesha Purana and Kalika Purana and these are in the collection of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, Mysuru.

Yet for all the accolades that have come his way, G.L.N. Simha remains reclusive. When curators from the Museum of Sacred Art in Brussels came down to Mysuru and thence to Kalale to meet Simha, they were incredulous to discover that Simha had no a priori knowledge of what he would paint… “I do not know,” was his answer to many questions.

Similarly when renowned film-maker Gautam Ghosh had to shoot a segment on Simha, latter is supposed to have said: “How does one talk to a man who is so immersed in the sacredness of his art… who avoids even opening his mouth…”

Simha is a man who is at peace with himself and in his solitude. Little do his neighbors in Kalale realize that this man with his shock of silvery white hair and dressed in his trademark white dhoti and white vest is a renowned painter. There are no traces of his art anywhere in the house except for a painting of Sri Rama Pattabhisheka which he presented to his father-in-law. His studio which is at the back of the house is a brick attic room on the first floor of what could be store room. A big single window opens out to the chirping birds, rowdy monkeys and scores of trees lovingly planted by his wife. It is to this room that Simha escapes to paint. No member of his family, let alone a friend, has ever entered this room.

Sunday | 13th November 2016 | 3.30 PM

Venue:
Alva’s High School,
Puttige,
Moodbidri,
Dakshina Kannada

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