The play of Ganesha in the popular imagination of the Indian mind with feelers spread universally has created a niche for Malaysia’s leading Indian artist, Jeganathan Ramachandram.
The 55-year-old artist has depicted the lovable elephant headed God in hundreds of paintings, exhibited worldwide throughout his illustrious three-decade artistic journey.
Today on Aug 25, the anniversary of Ganesha’s appearance day celebrated as Vinayagar Chaturthi marks the fruition of Jeganathan’s artustic labour of love.
The artist’s tireless endeavour to unravel the full potency of the Ganesha rupam (form) in all His magnificence, has finally manifested itself on his 4ft by 5ft canvas.
The painting will be unveiled to the public before noon today at the Sri Thohaiyadi Vinayagar Temple, 2 1/2 miles Jalan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.
This intriguing painting of Ganesha also known as Vigneswara (Remover of obstacles) as the sustainer of nature, Jeganathan says was begun in 2009 as an abstract work, retouched in 2014 with the introduction of realistic strokes before culminating in the present fully realistic form.
“Back then when I exhibited the painting in 2009 and then in 2014, I told everyone that the painting was not complete yet. Ganesha’s eyes were also closed in meditation.
“The present reworking of this piece was a most invigorating exercise for me as the painting literally painted itself. Ganesha’s benevolent gaze and the third eye or Ajna Cakra manifested magnificently in the painting together with His other paraphernalia and surroundings.
“I was amazed at the outcome as it has been many decades since I painted a fully realistic work,” Jeganathan added.
Exhibiting at the Sri Thohaiyadi Vinayagar Temple is significant for Jeganathan as it was on a wall of the newly built temple’s previous structure that he had painted one of his first Ganesha paintings as an 18-year-old budding artist.
The surrounding area of the temple which was the site of the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur City Council) workers quarters is also Jeganathan’s birthplace. The workers quarters have been torn down and a private developer who bought the land parcel from DBKL has put up several apartment blocks there.
Besides the temple, a Tamil school and two other temples including the Sri Muniswarar Amman Alayam are the only remaining landmarks of Jeganathan’s birthplace but he regards his exhibition in the area as the most significant celebration of his long and illustrious art career.
Jeganathan says his Ganesha masterpiece will be put on exhibition at other Ganesha temples throughout the country.
During the exhibitions children below the age of nine and senior citizens would be encouraged to place their finger prints at a designated place on the painting to claim ownership.
The artist himself has decided not to sign this masterpiece with only a tiny white bird in flight near Ganesha’s left ear, serving as his signature.
Review by R. Sittamparam