Karnataka’s history captured in murals

On Monday, 14th September, chief minister B S Yeddyurappa unveiled a mural depicting Karnataka’s celebrated past, multifaceted present and promising future, presented through a collage of diverse images creating an ascending visual narrative, at Vikas Soudha, annexe of the state secretariat.

Shivakumar's murals

Shivakumar’s murals. Pic: M S Gopal.

The mural’s artist Shivakumar is a painter by training and honed his skills at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat where he passed out in the year 2000. However, like many artists, he loves to experiment and loves to look beyond just painting to express his ideas. That’s probably why his design which uses metals, fiberglass reinforced plastics and the engineering skills that are required to erect this mammoth mural, was chosen from among the many designs that were submitted to Chitrakala Parishat when they called for designs from eminent artists from across Karnataka.

However, Rajajinagar based Shivkumar’s first love is painting and it’s his eye for colours and perspectives that holds this massive and complex mural together. Beginning with the emblem of historic Karnataka, symbols of ancient and medieval sculptural and architectural splendour proliferate the base of the mural, metaphorically forming the foundation of a farseeing and secular society – a land whose regions have seen the birth of numerous classical and folk forms of visual and performing art and literature. The same land that supports agriculture is also home to dynamic progress, illustrated in the central section.

Shivakumar's murals

Artist Shivakumar. Pic: M S Gopal.

Karnataka’s present reflects images of giant leaps in technology and engineering, medicine, research and every field of science, covering geographic distances as well as light years. The information technology industry that created a global impact is contributing to the livelihood of millions. As the narrative moves upward, references to recycling, conservation and protection of  environment are highlighted.

The imagery culminates dramatically in the current emblem of Karnataka emblazoned within an omnipresent sun, signifying its future role as a beacon of light and energy for India, and the world.

Created out of copper, bronze, and fibre-glass with synthetic granite finish, the mural was completed by a team comprising 30 collaborators, both traditional crafts-persons and contemporary artists. They used a combination of old and new techniques, fusing classical pattern with modern design to encompass an overall theme of growth and evolution, using the abstract characteristics of the five elements as compositional devices.

The challenge of condensing diverse information and representing multiple layers of history and current achievement was solved with the creative use of a selected few images chosen to be broadly symbolic of their counterparts in the larger picture.

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About Lina Vincent Sunish 10 Articles
Lina Vincent Sunish is a Bangalore based art historian and curator.

1 Comment

  1. My congratulations to the artist Shivakumar for his work. It’s unfortunate that most people may not get to see this in person.
    But why did the government choose to have this done inside Vikas Soudha? If they are trying to capture the history of the the state through murals, why do it behind “closed doors”? How many people will ever get to see this in-person? Government officials and visitors will get to see. I have seen this as I happened to to go there on some official work. But how many people visit Vikas Soudha? So what has the government got out of spending money (Again, we should find out how much has been spent on this) on murals that majority of the people in the state will never get to see?

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