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Artist, Craftsman & Researcher: M Reddeppa Naidu
Mansi Dhiman Mandhwani

In the art world, facts are sometimes given short compensation in favour of concepts and ideas. That’s good for creative enthusiasm and spirit, but perhaps not so much for the idea of making a living as an artist. Previously there were patronages and endowments, mostly a thing of the past now, which had always supported the artists and artisans but with the decline of patronages and endowments it has become challenging for the artists to survive on their own, for a large number of artists.

Every artist speaks his or her own visual language which communicates with the viewer of the present and future. Artist’s creations of his/her unfamiliar visual images are evoked by a sharp personal and provocative idiom. Artists have been conditioned by socio-economic challenges, to face these difficulties many artists have been working only part time as artists, out of their interest, in many cases, to fulfil and match their needs or to make a living. There are a number of skilled artists who couldn’t indulge themselves to be a full time practicing artist due to the lack of finances, they are forced by their conditions to work and earn an extra penny to express themselves as artists and to paint.

There were many known artists who have worked with government sectors to earn at a certain point of their life. Weavers’ Service Centre is one of the best examples of this, many artists such as K.G. Subramanian, Jogen Chowdhury, Jeram Patel, Sunil Das, Prabhakar Barve, M Reddeppa Naidu, Manu Parekh, and other well known artists, have worked in various centres. They have expressed their potentials with one on one experiments with the textile artisans of different states.

During my research at the DAG Modern gallery archives, I have come across with the letters, documents and drawings of the artist, M Reddeppa Naidu who was employed Weavers’ Service Centre1 (WSC), Madras (now Chennai).

One of the most respected contemporary painters in south India, born in a small village near Hyderabad, M. Reddappa Naidu went on to acquire his formal education in Kakinada and later became a student of D. P. Roy Chowdhury and K. C. S. Panicker at the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Madras. The paintings of Naidu show a dramatic and intense effect of self-expression. He also portrayed Hindu gods and goddesses in varied aspects and perspectives, rendered in free lines drawn with dry brush strokes. During the Sixties,

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