Monday, November 2, 2015

I was asked to speak on Shri. Damerla Rama Rao on 16 Oct '15 at the JN Arch Fine Arts University, Hyderabad.

I am giving below the write up

 Digumarthy Vithal

An artiste that died young                                                                                                                                     
Damerla Rama Rao                                                                                                                                               
8 Mar 1897 – 6 Feb 1925

The great Indian Poet Harindranath  Chattopadhaya said on his passing:
He is not dead – How  can he die who made                                                                                             
Immortal things for us, drunk with the bright                                                                                                     
Nectar of dreams, who sat alone and played                                                                                                                                  
Upon a golden harp of inward sight,                                                                                                                                                             
Who reveled in dim  worlds of light and shade ,                                                                                                                                                  
Dreaming in silence of unshadowed light.

A legacy of 34 fully finished paintings in oil, 129 in water colour, 250 sheets of studies in pencil,  26 sketch books and a large number of loose sketch sheets.
His works are well composed and of decorative nature, like de Chavannes and a la Raja Ravi Verma, half a century after his decease.
A treasure to be proud of.

During the period of Revivalism of Indian Art, when Bombay group and Bengal group were claiming supremacy, he heralded artistic renaissance in Andhra region.
Rabindranath Tagore (1920) made when he met him in Bhavanagar, with his autograph, Sitar Player (1921) are proud possessions.  Some of his world renowned paintings: Siddhartha ragodayam, Milkmaids of Kathiawar(1921), Pushpalankarana (1923), Karthikapournami, Turpu kanumallo Godavari, Rushya shringa bhangam, Krishna leelalu, Nandi puja.
Rajahmundry chitrakalasala, Damerla RamaRao Memorial Art gallery inaugurated by Gandhiji, Andhra Society of Indian Arts, Satyavani art gallery inaugurated by Durgabai Deshmukh are institutions associated with his name. 
Indian Society of Oriental Art Exhibition (1921), British Empire Exhibition, Wimbley (1923), Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto (1924). They won awards at Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta too.  
The heritage Art gallery, handed over by the family to the Government (1976) is in doldrums and the huge volume of paintings hardly visible with fungus forming on the frames, a picture of neglect - pathetic. Confined to this hardly rest of the country knew. Some of his works were exhibited in Madras (1988), Hyderabad (1988 – Telugu Univ), Delhi (1991-CMC)
What can the present generation do?
Preserve, restore, organize exhibitions, produce videos, put the Gallery on the web - a tribute to the Genius that left a great legacy for the posterity.  Intach recognized it as a national treasure and took it as a project.
Ray of Hope
At the closing Godavari Pushkaram function Chief Minister announced the Gallery would be restored and renovated.
Pen Portrait
Born in a well to do family1897, father a physician, second child in the group of five girls and four boys,  spotted by the Principal(40) who took him(14) to Ajanta and Ellora for sketching frescoes and sculptures, JJ School of Fine Arts, admitted direct to third year (5 year course), won the Mayo prize, married to Satyavani(artist in her own right) in 1919, settled in Rajahmundry in 1922, started Chitrakalasala in 1923,  broke shackles of orthodoxy  and painted nudes, organized first national level art exhibition in the region, toured Saurashtra extensively. Narrow build, delicate eyes, hardly more than a boy  caught small pox and died 1925 at the young age of 27 years plus.
His passion transcended time. So much in so short time. A legend.


1 comment:

'mohan'raagam said...

ధన్యవాదాలండి. నాకు రామారావు చిత్రాలంటే ఎంతో ఆరాధన. పదిహేనేళ్ల కింద రాజమండ్రి వెళ్లనప్పుడు చూశాను గాని, అప్పుడాయన గురించి సరిగ్గా తెలియలేదు. మీరు రామారావు బంధువుల్లా ఉంది. నేను ఆయన గురించి పూర్తిస్థాయి పరిశోధన చెయ్యాలనుకుంటున్నాను. మీరు తగిన వివరాలు సమాాచారం అందించగలరని ఆశిస్తున్నాను. నేను వీలైతే ఈ వారంలో రాజమండ్రికి వెళ్లాలనుకుంటున్నాను, దీనికోసమే. ఎవరెవరిని సంప్రదిస్తే సరైన వివరాలు వస్తాయో చెప్పగలరు. నా ఫోన్ నంబరు 99490 52916. నేనే ఫోన్ చేస్తాను.. మీ నంబరు ఇస్తే. నేను జర్నలిస్టును. ఇదివరకు పికాసో, డావిన్సీలపై తెలుగులో పుస్తకాలు రాశాను. నా బ్లాగు.. మీ స్పందన కోసం ఎదురుచూస్తూ.