Thota Vaikuntam in his art draws his inspiration from the rural environs of Telangana and the men and women who inhabit that space. Born in 1942 in Boorugupali, Telangana, Vaikuntam currently is based in Hyderabad. Vaikuntam completed a Diploma in Painting at the College of Fine Arts and Architecture, Hyderabad and then another in Painting and Printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda under the tutelage of KG Subramanian. His art tries to capture the vibrancy of life in his natal village through a detailed exploration of the men and women in the region. He is particularly fascinated by the sensuousness of the feminine form and traces this fascination back to his childhood experience watching travelling theatre groups in his village which had male impersonations of female characters. At first deeply skeptical of the sensuousness of his art which was very Indian in essence, Vaikuntam came into his own with a complete acceptance of this central aspect of his works.
Vaikuntam started his journey in art with charcoal drawings. While he was still exploring techniques, he came out with his earliest charcoal series that portrayed the life of the village he grew up in. It had everything from scholars, farmers, and devadasis to utensils, pots, doors. His earlier works were symbolic of the ethos of rural India. As his art evolved, so did his range of mediums. Along with charcoal on paper, he experimented with pencil drawings, transparent washes and finished some drawings with partial coloration. Even when he is working with the medium of charcoal, the sharp features of the women depicted in his distinctive style consisting of controlled lines and fine strokes make them instantly recognizable. The stylization of his painting is heavily influenced by the statuesque dancing forms of traditional Indian art, as seen in temple friezes. The upright and powerful torsos of Telangana women, Vaikuntam believes is different from the city dwellers and has held his fascination.Read more