Tuesday, February 5, 2013


RAJAHMUNDRY, February 2, 2013

Disciple to recreate Damerla’s magic

B.V.S. Bhaskar
Guvvala Kennedy to reproduce 24 paintings of the great artist
A touch of genius!Artist Guvvala Kennedy giving finishing touches to legendary artist Damerla Ramarao’s paintings.— PHOTO: S. RAMBABU
Some of the valuable paintings of Damerla Ramarao, known to have emerged as an artist half a century after Raja Ravi Varma and for his significant contribution to enriching art forms, will be born again due to his ‘Eklavya’ or disciple, Guvvala Kennedy.
A huge volume of Damerla’s paintings are hardly visible due to formation of fungus on the frames. The heritage art gallery dedicated to him, on the other hand, is a picture of neglect. The government took over the Damerla Ramarao Memorial Art Gallery in 1984, which was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi on 18 July, 1925. The foundation for a second building was laid by Durgabai Deshmukh.
Well composed works
His works were well composed and were decorative in nature like those of Puvis de Chavannes, the post-Impressionist artist from Paris. ‘The Andhra Society of Indian Art’ in Rajahmundry, his home town, heralded a renaissance in art in the Andhra area. Damerla’s special ability was spotted by Sir O.J. Couldrey, then principal of the Rajahmundry Arts College, who took him to Ajanta and Ellora to sketch frescos and sculptures. It is said that Viceroy Lord Reading was so impressed with his works that he purchased the painting “Godavari of Eastern Ghats”.
Voluminous collection
“There are more than 500 paintings of Damerla, out of which I want to reproduce 24 paintings, all water colours, which are not seen clearly and two huge oil paintings which have attracted fungus,” said Mr. Kennedy.
The two popular oil paintings, ‘Krishna Leelalu’ and ‘Leela Krishna’, which are worth over Rs.1 crore each, are going to be restored with Kennedy’s brush.
Damerla’s works include 34 fully finished paintings in oil, 129 in water colours, 250 sheets of studies in pencil, 26 sketch books and a large number of loose sketch sheets, which have all been infested by fungus on the frames at the Damerla Art Gallery in Rajahmundry.
“The younger generation is slowly forgetting the contribution made by the likes of Damerla. I want to take Damerla’s art again to art lovers and encourage poor students who want to learn art,” said Mr Kennedy.
Guvvala Kennedy is working on 24 paintings of Damerla Ramarao

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A.Vijaya Murthy (Jijji)

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