About the artist
Born in 1942 in Boorugupali, Andhra Pradesh, Thota Vaikuntam completed a Diploma in Painting at the College of Fine Arts and Architecture, Hyderabad, in 1970. Vaikuntam’s draws his inspiration in the rural areas of the state and his paintings capture the simple lifestyle of Telengana men and women. The colours used to paint women give them a vibrant and decorative look and the male form appears remarkably calm, with a sense of humor. His expertise can significantly be seen in the execution of figures, infusing them with a lifelike vibrancy brilliantly capturing the essence of his native place and people. The detailing is extended to their jewellery, attire, and experiences. The use of bold primary colour gives them a three-dimensional feel. The obsession can be traced back to his childhood when he used to be fascinated by the male artists who used to impersonate female characters in the travelling theatre groups that performed in his village Vaikuntam’s art has a sense of strength to it, a power that emanates from the paint or charcoal that he applies to the surface, from his controlled lines, and from the fine strokes that he executes. He generally uses only primary colours, as he believes that composite colours do not exist in nature and are, therefore, unnatural. The artist uses rich primary colours, which give a sense of character and depth to his paintings like reds and saffron and even orange because these are essentially Indian colours. He doesn’t use colours that are a mix of two, because they are not natural and they don’t exist in the surroundings of everyday life. Women, in particular, are frequent subjects for his works. Most of his work is acrylic and charcoal and watercolour on paper. His recent substitution of paper with mood lends his work an ephemeral quality. Among his several honours are the National Award for Painting, which Vaikuntam received in 1993, and the Biennale Award from Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, which he received in 1988-89.