Fort Kochi: Susan Byula, a native of United Kingdom, is awed by the 'chaakara', a unique marine phenomenon in which a large number of fish throng the mud banks along the coast, and she loves to capture it in a million hues on her canvas. She has been travelling to Kerala for the last 20 years, just to see it. At 75, Susan is passionate about travelling and has explored the coasts at Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha and Kochi to unravel the mystery of the chaakara. If a particular sight from the nature floors her, she would sit there and paint it on her canvas. Susan says that she loves to observe directly and capture it in colours.
In the last 30 years, Susan has exhibited her works at many countries including the UK. She conducted an exhibition of her beautiful paintings at Kovalam as well. Even though she came to Kerala, this time, with an intention to hold an exhibition at Kochi, Susan dropped the plan after hearing the high rents charged by the halls here.
Susan has extensively studied about chaakara and has painted charming images of many fishing villages in Kerala. Susan says that she has spent time with fisherfolk to understand their lives and their different ways of fishing. It was in 1990 that Susan came to India for the first time. She had depicted, on canvas, the vibrant lives of the Rajasthan villagers. Later she reached Kerala after hearing about chaakara.
Susan, who is currently at Kochi, visited the Biennale venues to enjoy the art extravaganza. She thinks it indeed is a big thing that the Biennale has focused on female artists this time. Susan reaches the beach at Fort Kochi, early in the morning, to paint pictures and stays there until noon. Kovalam native B Babu has been acting as her guide in Kerala for the last few years. Susan, who reached Kerala two months ago, returns to her country on 7th March.