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Art that you can still catch at Chennai’s Madras Art Weekend : a quick guide

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One of Tharmapalan Tilaxan’s works on display at Chennai Photo Biennale’s Shared Tides
| Photo Credit: Tharmapalan Tilaxan

Shared histories

Explore an abandoned biscuit factory in Kottivakam this weekend, enveloped in art and music. The innovative Chennai Photo Biennale team recently discovered a warehouse opposite their office for a photo exhibition, and then decided to activate it for audiences who make the trek across the city to visit.  

The heart of the show is Shared Tides, a collaborative project put together by two Indian and two Sri Lankan artists. Says Shuchi Kapoor, a co-founder of CPB, “A history of conflict has been the only narrative you get to hear. We wanted to try and go beyond that — to establish cultural connections and focus on shared histories.” 

Working with the Goethe-Institut (in Chennai and Sri Lanka) and Kalam, a visual arts organisation in northern Jaffna, CPB set up a residency programme for four artists. Kiranmayi Veeramani and Subthiga Madandeva from Tamil Nadu, and Lojithan Ram and Tharmapalan Tilaxan from Sri Lanka travelled to each other’s countries to develop visual stories and oral narratives on shared themes. Join them as they tackle questions of identity, tradition and ‘otherness’ in this show. 

The event includes a talk on shared textile traditions between Tamil Nadu and Northern Sri Lanka in the 17 to 19 Centuries, and a Sri Lankan pop up by Serendip boutique. On Saturday, they promise a fun ‘night at the warehouse’ with creative networking by Shreya Nagarajan Singh and music. 

Follow the Chennai Photo Biennale on Instagram for programming and details.  

Art on the go

Art Vandi by Nalandaway Foundation

Art Vandi by Nalandaway Foundation
| Photo Credit:
Gowri S

At Madras Literary Society’s rained-in entrance stands an unusually colourful traveller van. In a pleasing marriage of reds, blues, pink and greens, the facade shows children writing, reading, painting and flying kites — this is no ordinary vehicle. It is an art truck. Inside the van, separated in different compartments are art supplies — everything from paints, sketch pens and crayons to chart paper, glitter and sequins. The van travels to schools across Tamil Nadu in a bid to teach art to children. 

“In rural areas, when compared to metropolitan cities, there is little exposure to visual arts. We started this project in October 2022, and till now have covered over 28 schools in different villages — last year, 17 and this year, 11,” says Prabhakar, manager at NalandaWay Foundation. 

Each stop is a five-day workshop. At the end of the fifth day, the storybooks created by the students are displayed in their respective schools. One of the storybooks which was on display at Madras Literary Society, for instance, is titled Chennai Dhinam in bold, glittery letters that charts out a day as spent in the city. “We have worked with over 6,000 students so far,” says Prabhakar. The next stop, for this van, is Chengalpet. 

As part of the Madras Art Weekend, the van was at the library for two days to engage with children from schools in Chennai.  

Reach @nalandaway foundation on Instagram for details. 

Food and wine, with a side of colour

Charcoal edamame dumpling at Mr Ong

Charcoal edamame dumpling at Mr Ong
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

Chennai artist Yuvan Bothysathuvar’s work is meditation, an invitation to seek inward, mapped with the help of concentric circles that crash into themselves. These canvases are part of a series by Chennai artists laid out across Park Hyatt in collaboration with Gallery Veda: the Art of Food and Wine, which is a 10-day festival that is both an art walk and a food tour.

The tour starts at Flying Elephant with an amouse-bouche, a cream cheese cracker generously sprinkled with coconut shavings that pairs well with white wine. The route goes past some abstract works that take up the ground floor: Vijay Pichumani’s wooden sculptures of hibiscus flowers laid across the floor is a win. Benita Perciyal’s stack of books fashioned in wood also finds place on one of the walls.

Unknown leaves by Potrarasan Suban

Unknown leaves by Potrarasan Suban
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

Next stop is the Dining Room where a deconstructed soup inspired by Parry’s Corner and its Burmese atho, and a creamy chicken vadacurry served with colourful beetroot idlis await. Along the corridors that lead one to the first floor are interesting multimedia works. From Parvathi Nayar’s homage to Gustav Klimt’s Kiss, to Aneesh Kalode Rajan’s experimental photography series, most canvases are from Chennai’s contemporary brushes. A walk through these corridors also leads to Mr Ong, Hyatt’s ode to the taste of Singapore. We finally round up with a generous main course of New Zealand lamb chops, a decadent chocolate terrarium for dessert back at the Flying Elephant.

On till December 10, 7pm onwards. Call 8939871128 for reservations. The canvases will be on view for six months. 


One of Tharmapalan Tilaxan’s works on display at Chennai Photo Biennale’s Shared Tides

One of Tharmapalan Tilaxan’s works on display at Chennai Photo Biennale’s Shared Tides
| Photo Credit: Tharmapalan Tilaxan

Shared histories

Explore an abandoned biscuit factory in Kottivakam this weekend, enveloped in art and music. The innovative Chennai Photo Biennale team recently discovered a warehouse opposite their office for a photo exhibition, and then decided to activate it for audiences who make the trek across the city to visit.  

The heart of the show is Shared Tides, a collaborative project put together by two Indian and two Sri Lankan artists. Says Shuchi Kapoor, a co-founder of CPB, “A history of conflict has been the only narrative you get to hear. We wanted to try and go beyond that — to establish cultural connections and focus on shared histories.” 

Working with the Goethe-Institut (in Chennai and Sri Lanka) and Kalam, a visual arts organisation in northern Jaffna, CPB set up a residency programme for four artists. Kiranmayi Veeramani and Subthiga Madandeva from Tamil Nadu, and Lojithan Ram and Tharmapalan Tilaxan from Sri Lanka travelled to each other’s countries to develop visual stories and oral narratives on shared themes. Join them as they tackle questions of identity, tradition and ‘otherness’ in this show. 

The event includes a talk on shared textile traditions between Tamil Nadu and Northern Sri Lanka in the 17 to 19 Centuries, and a Sri Lankan pop up by Serendip boutique. On Saturday, they promise a fun ‘night at the warehouse’ with creative networking by Shreya Nagarajan Singh and music. 

Follow the Chennai Photo Biennale on Instagram for programming and details.  

Art on the go

Art Vandi by Nalandaway Foundation

Art Vandi by Nalandaway Foundation
| Photo Credit:
Gowri S

At Madras Literary Society’s rained-in entrance stands an unusually colourful traveller van. In a pleasing marriage of reds, blues, pink and greens, the facade shows children writing, reading, painting and flying kites — this is no ordinary vehicle. It is an art truck. Inside the van, separated in different compartments are art supplies — everything from paints, sketch pens and crayons to chart paper, glitter and sequins. The van travels to schools across Tamil Nadu in a bid to teach art to children. 

“In rural areas, when compared to metropolitan cities, there is little exposure to visual arts. We started this project in October 2022, and till now have covered over 28 schools in different villages — last year, 17 and this year, 11,” says Prabhakar, manager at NalandaWay Foundation. 

Each stop is a five-day workshop. At the end of the fifth day, the storybooks created by the students are displayed in their respective schools. One of the storybooks which was on display at Madras Literary Society, for instance, is titled Chennai Dhinam in bold, glittery letters that charts out a day as spent in the city. “We have worked with over 6,000 students so far,” says Prabhakar. The next stop, for this van, is Chengalpet. 

As part of the Madras Art Weekend, the van was at the library for two days to engage with children from schools in Chennai.  

Reach @nalandaway foundation on Instagram for details. 

Food and wine, with a side of colour

Charcoal edamame dumpling at Mr Ong

Charcoal edamame dumpling at Mr Ong
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

Chennai artist Yuvan Bothysathuvar’s work is meditation, an invitation to seek inward, mapped with the help of concentric circles that crash into themselves. These canvases are part of a series by Chennai artists laid out across Park Hyatt in collaboration with Gallery Veda: the Art of Food and Wine, which is a 10-day festival that is both an art walk and a food tour.

The tour starts at Flying Elephant with an amouse-bouche, a cream cheese cracker generously sprinkled with coconut shavings that pairs well with white wine. The route goes past some abstract works that take up the ground floor: Vijay Pichumani’s wooden sculptures of hibiscus flowers laid across the floor is a win. Benita Perciyal’s stack of books fashioned in wood also finds place on one of the walls.

Unknown leaves by Potrarasan Suban

Unknown leaves by Potrarasan Suban
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

Next stop is the Dining Room where a deconstructed soup inspired by Parry’s Corner and its Burmese atho, and a creamy chicken vadacurry served with colourful beetroot idlis await. Along the corridors that lead one to the first floor are interesting multimedia works. From Parvathi Nayar’s homage to Gustav Klimt’s Kiss, to Aneesh Kalode Rajan’s experimental photography series, most canvases are from Chennai’s contemporary brushes. A walk through these corridors also leads to Mr Ong, Hyatt’s ode to the taste of Singapore. We finally round up with a generous main course of New Zealand lamb chops, a decadent chocolate terrarium for dessert back at the Flying Elephant.

On till December 10, 7pm onwards. Call 8939871128 for reservations. The canvases will be on view for six months. 

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