Komakula Raja Sekhar’s goats star in his solo art exhibition at Chennai’s Focus Gallery


As you step into the Focus Art Gallery in Chennai, you are instantly drawn to the whimsical goats that dominate the canvas with their lively eyes and mischievous demeanors. These goats are the creation of artist Komakula Raja Sekhar, whose solo exhibition, “Choreographing Nature,” is currently on display. But these are no ordinary goats; each is a character sketch informed by the diverse anatomies observed by the artist across different regions of India. Smaller goats from his village, tall ones from Shantiniketan, and long-eared varieties from Hyderabad—all feature with a sense of individuality in Komakula’s masterful paintings.

The 35-year-old artist, hailing from Narsipatnam near Vishakapatnam, has a long-standing affair with art—an ambition rooted in his childhood experiences. Komakula reminisces about his early interest in drawing, an interest that was nurtured through school competitions and by an encouraging uncle. This foundational support led him to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts at Shantiniketan, where he specialized in printmaking—a medium he chose for its rich potential to explore textures and techniques, from etching to traditional lithography.

Through pens, pencils, and watercolors on robust, acid-free paper, Komakula’s work vividly renders his memories of home. His father’s pet roosters, once a part of his village life, now strut confidently across his artworks, embodying his personal connection to the subjects he paints. However, his work is not solely anchored in the past; Komakula’s artistic evolution is a canvas of his travels, reflecting the nuances of new places and experiences. The elephants that grace his works owe their existence to a visit to the Vishakapatnam zoo, while the vibrancy of Goa has bled into his depictions of traditional Telangana houses, making them come to life with a kaleidoscope of colors.

When discussing his creative process, Komakula speaks of a journey that begins with a solitary tree trunk and gradually blooms into a rich tapestry. Flowers emerge at the base, followed by meticulously crafted leaves, for which he employs natural substances like coffee, tea, and turmeric to capture the rich palette of nature. Gold-hued leaves, resulting from the application of turmeric, shimmer alongside browns, blacks, and the more recently introduced blues and greens, derived from natural dyes and blue-pea flowers.

Among the gallery walls, activity flourishes in his pieces: elephants pilfer berries, and peacocks perch nobly amid a whimsical architecture of houses with curly grills, quirky curtains, and red-tiled roofs. Significantly, Komakula doesn’t haste his strokes—he details a single green wall in four layers of paint until the texture rivals reality itself.

The influence of Laxma Goud, an iconic artist Komakula met in Hyderabad, is ingrained in the intricacies of each painting. The diligence put into every element is not lost on the curator of the show and the owner of the Focus Art Gallery, Mayur Shah. He lauds Komakula’s meticulous work, a signature that has caught the eye of viewers and has avoided any note of monotony. Putting together the collection of 39 paintings and prints was a considerable endeavour that spanned several years, further underscoring the singular dedication required to create such detailed works.

“Choreographing Nature,” an exhibition that invites viewers into a dance of colors and forms, nuances, and narrative, is an open display until March 10. It stands as a testament to the artist’s unwavering commitment to his craft and his capability to weave intricacies that capture the hearts of those who behold his work. The Focus Art Gallery, located at 11, Kasturi Estate 2nd Street, Alwarpet, has become a temporary homestead for a trove of Komakula’s childhood memories, artistry, and the animals that are his muses—all awaiting art enthusiasts to step in and explore the evocative world of Komakula Raja Sekhar.

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