This Indian Artist Has Taken Dravidian Art to Australian Shores

Melbourne-based artist Anudeepa Kadiresan has created a new audience for ancient Dravidian art among modern art lovers.

By Manvi Pant

With increasing knowledge and a growing demand for Indian art in the Western world, a lot of indigenous artists now have the opportunity to showcase their work in international galleries. Some of these artists are using a rich array of traditional and ethnic art forms to keep Indian mythology and customs intact in a foreign land.

Meet versatile self-taught artist Anudeepa Kadiresan, an Indian artist in Australia, who uses Indian culture as a central theme and core voice for her artwork.

Born and brought up in Tirupur, Tamil Nadu, the 39-year-old was introduced to the world of art by her father at a very young age. But like all middle-class families, making ends meet was not easy for Anudeepa’s parents, let alone support her choice of career.

“Even though I did my Bachelor’s in computer science, my parents never hesitated to drive me around Tirupur to buy art material that was above their monthly budget,” says Anudeepa, who is now based in Melhourne and is the founder of the Dravidian Art Gallery in the southeastern Australian metropolis.

Artwork by Anudeepa Kadiresan: Third Eye in Us

Anudeepa moved to Australia after marriage in 2003, and her new life brought fresh beginnings, challenges and opportunities. “My husband, Kadiresan, works for Infosys. Since he is in the IT space, we moved a lot. Now we are settled in Melbourne and I am grateful that this place has presented me with a plethora of opportunities to witness amazing art at the National Gallery of Victoria. I also got access to great books that enhanced my understanding on sketching techniques and the theory of colours.”

Specialising in Tanjore painting, which saw its golden period in the fifth century BCE, Anudeepa believes, “Art is not just a medium of expression, it is a universal language that goes beyond boundaries.”

After settling in another country, when she started missing her culture and the traditions back home, she used this void to the best of her creativity. “I started communicating and connecting to my roots through my paintings,” she says.

Anudeepa Kadiresan

Anudeepa’s work minutely displays both antiquity and character from a traditional point of view. With time, she has also learned realism, impressionism and contemporary forms of art and uses her knowledge to try fresh styles. She has participated in more than 30 exhibits in and around Melbourne. Her oeuvre ranges from pencil sketches, to kalamkari painting, to aluminium carving and even clay jewellery.

Each artist has their own quirk when it comes to art creation. In Anudeepa’s case, once a piece of art is completed, she leaves it in the living room of her home for a few months and allows herself the time to improve the output before signing it. She also runs it by her husband and her sons, Rithvik, and Advaith, whom she considers her most valuable critics.

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I believe an artwork needs no words,” says Anudeepa. “My best language of communication is my brush and my colours are my vocabulary.”

First published in eShe’s April 2021 issue

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