Chennai: Renowned artist Achuthan Kudallur, who earned fame by creating his own style of abstract paintings, passed away following a heart attack in Chennai on Monday. Achuthan was 78 and the cremation will take place on Tuesday at his ancestral house Kallekkalathil Tharavaudu in Kudallur, Palakkad district of Kerala.
Achuthan had resigned from a job with the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department to devote his life to art. He also published some short stories. Exhibitions of Achuthan’s paintings were held all over the world.
Incidentally, Achuthan was a relative of legendary Malayalam author M T Vasudevan Nair. His father, M T Parameswaran Nair, was an uncle of M T Vasudevan Nair. Achuthan’s mother was Kallekkalathil Parukutty Amma of Pullattu Parambil, Kudallur. Achuthan was a bachelor.
Artist Namboothiri pays homage
Artist Namboothiri had known Achuthan for decades. Remembering the late artist, Namboothiri said, “I first met Achuthan during our days at the Cholmandal Artists’ Village in Madras (now Chennai). Interactions with leading artists and exhibitions of their works regularly took place there. Moreover, other people interested in art also could exhibit their works at Cholamandal. Young artists from various places lived in some lodges in that area and Achuthan too stayed at one such place.”
“I remember visiting Achuthan’s lodge. There were so many paintings in his room as well as the corridor leading to it. One had to be careful not to step on those paintings,” said Namboothiri.
On Achuthan’s life, he said, “Achuthan’s focus was entirely on art. There was no order in his life.”
“Having dedicated his life to art, Achuthan utilised his genius to create abstract art, which was a rage among youngsters of those days. While artists like me depicted people as they were, abstract artists could paint with more freedom as they were not supposed to create fixed images,” recalled Namboothiri.
“Abstract painters provide a different visual experience with a play of colours on canvas. Even then, it was a reflection of their life experiences,” he explained.
Achuthan was part of a circle of abstract artists that existed in Cholamandal those days and included Gopi, who hailed from Ponnani, said Namboothiri. “They often organised exhibitions in which I too took part,” he added.
Namboothiri had recently met Achuthan at Kudallur. “A function was held there to honour Achuthan where I also was invited. An exhibition of his works was arranged there and we had renewed our friendship on that occasion,” said Namboothiri.