Having been inspired by animals at the Nehru Zoological Park at Hyderabad, renowned artist Laxman Aelay went outside his usual human-based paintings to bring an ink series of various animals in his own style.
“We had adopted an elephant called Sita at the zoo before the pandemic for a year. With the help of funds raised through an exhibition of elephant sculptures called ‘Gaja’, we paid for all the expenses pertaining to Sita. So, when we went to deliver the cheque for the same, the zookeepers showed us around the zoo and I got very keenly interested in animals,” shares Laxman. He also mentions that the announcement of a pandemic followed by a lockdown was made immediately after his visit to the zoo.
Being confined to his home, Laxman could only find some A3 and A4 size papers and some ink to keep him occupied. The thought of animals then gave an idea to the artist to create an ink series on the same. Throughout the lockdown, the artist has created 50 monochromatic ink drawings.
“I just began sketching animals and the rest just happened on its own. Usually our sub-conscious mind brings our most creative side and so I let it flow through the paintings. If you observe, there are intricate designs even inside the animals. These designs are what came to my sub-conscious mind and also deliver some message,” he shares. The artist has also used calligraphy and Telugu typography in the intricate detailing to spread a message on ecological balance.
In addition to the zoo animals, some recent instances of the wild have also inspired the artist towards sketching. “Like the recent news of a tiger being on the loose gave me the idea of sketching a tiger and many such small news pieces that I come across have inspired me.”
Talking about how the wild animals’ natural habitats are being disrupted because of human actions, the artist through his paintings, wanted people to have a glimpse of the world of the wild. “It is clear that the environment has to be protected. These wild animals are losing their natural habitats. The recent incident of a herd of elephants walking hundreds of kilometres away just left me disheartened. We need to look into our actions,” shared Laxman.
Laxman’s ‘Inked Images’ are exhibited at Kadari Art Galary till August 22. It is one of his first in-person exhibitions after the pandemic. Till now, the show has received a good response with some of his works being sold for around 1,10,000 and more.