Artist Rama Suresh decided to mark the beginning of 2020 by stepping his artistic ambitions up to the next level. In his first exhibition of the year, 2020 = 40, he exhibits drawings of more than 40 artists around the country – ranging from veteran artists who have been working since the 1940s, to up-and-comers who are just starting to be showcased.
Held at the Dhakshina Art Gallery in Sholinganallur, owned by Mr. Dhakshina Moorthy, the function was inaugurated on Republic Day by Shekar Sitaraman, the director of Automatrix Hotels and Resorts. It was attended by an excited crowd of more than a hundred artists, their families, and enthusiasts, including several aspiring art students of Rama Suresh’s.
If you were to walk amongst the drawings displayed in the exhibition, the first thing that would catch your eye is its sheer versatility. Rama Suresh’s collection holds both good and bad works. Some of the works were discarded by artists themselves, but seeks a new pedestal in his collection – being seen as a priceless treasure by art enthusiasts. The work of Mr. R. Krishna Rao (former principal Government College of fine arts, Chennai), for example, from the year 1943 is totally damaged yet of high value.
“Over the years, I have amassed a collection of more than a thousand paintings, sculptures and drawings. My collections are an irreplaceable resource for understanding the artist of yesteryears, reflecting on the present and looking into the future of upcoming artists. It is my dream to slowly display it piece by piece. Next time, I might only display paintings,”rama suresh
Rama Suresh joined the College of Fine Arts to pursue his education in the arts field. The creative atmosphere there helped him develop as an artist and also inculcate interest towards the works of other artists. His frequent conversations with his professor, the eminent artist G. Raman at the college of fine arts taught him the art of collecting works of art. A further visit to the professor’s residence, revealed to him a huge collection of art and artifacts the professor had collected in the bygone era.
Inspired by his visit, he made the decision to have his own collection. Soon he found himself sharing and exchanging his works with his teacher. Whilst pursuing his studies, Rama Suresh used every opportunity to participate in art exhibitions and attend camps in most parts of the country. An array of works from various artists attracted his vision. This visual treat triggered him to make small purchases of art works for his own personal collection. He started with drawings and then later moved to collecting paintings, sculptures, ceramics, graphic prints and works from all other mediums developing his collections thereon.
His urge for collection brought him very close to a lot of senior artists like Mr. G. Raman, Mr. C. Dakshinamoorthy, Dr A Alphonso Arul Doss, Mr. T.R.P. Mookiah, Mr. S.K. Rajavelu and Mr. Veera Santhanam besides Mr. J.M.S. Mani from Karnataka. They were also instrumental in inspiring and upbringing his artistic career.
Today, as an art teacher, Rama Suresh imparts his knowledge as an artist and his artistic journey. He narrates biographies of various other artists. The entire process involved in meeting and collecting art works brought him close to understanding the varied range of art pieces. This passion brings him immense satisfaction.
Besides identifying artist works, he could also decipher the original from the duplicate. His vast collection kept growing and seeks a wider space. Some works started fading away while others were damaged. Soon this helped him to learn the art of preserving and conserving art works.
Today, Rama Suresh takes credit for having collected works for 25 years without selling a single piece and also for exchanging works of art with other art collectors and artists. He has supported many shows by sharing his collections whenever required.
“I want to create a small museum to house my collection. I want to take my passion for art to the upcoming generations. It is also my dream to develop an artists’ village for artists to live, share their experiences, and indulge in their art. If you look at Mahabalipuram today, it has developed so much from what it was years ago. Today, people from around the world come there to view the art. I want to keep art alive in people’s minds and hearts.”
This exhibition at the Dhakshina Art Gallery is a stepping stone to exhibit his collection. It is also an opportunity for art lovers to closely examine exclusive works of art never seen before. It will be running the entire week, till February 2nd, at the Dhakshina Moorthy Gallery, between 10 am to 6 pm.