I wrote an article about the three artists who have executed some beautiful murals at the Bandipur property of Jungle Lodges and Resorts.
Jungle Lodges and Resorts, Ltd, a well-known government-owned chain of wildlife resorts all over Karnataka, has an excellent art initiative at their Bandipur property. Three artists have painted, in authentic and realistic detail, murals of various fauna on the walls of each guest room.
Amazed at the murals, I contacted the artists.
The first artist whom I met was Shakthi Prasad, a self-taught artist living in Gundlupet, who is executing the Dhole mural, after finishing the Sloth Bear and the Peacock. (The painting has been halted, pending fresh sanction for completion from the new M.D.)
Shakthi has executed various commissions, but no exhibitions. As long as he gets enough commissions to sustain his livelihood, he is happy. " I am working on a project with Ms Sunita Dhairyam, which will also involve JLR,", he says modestly.
I then contacted Sangeeta Kadur, who is also an avid wildlifer and birder. She has resolved to do only wildlife paintings.Since graduating from Chitra Kala Parishath,she has had a fairly regular stream of work, having done murals from the third year of her Fine Arts degree. She did one in the Chinnaswamy Stadium, ( a large Yakshagana face); one at Maiyya Caterers in Gandhi Bazaar, (a fibreglass mural of people cooking with friends!), one for a child's room in Whitefield, one in J P Nagar, and another at a Montessori School.
Talking in detail about her Chital mural, meant learning the complexities of mural painting. After a lot of work with the software called Adobe Photoshop, the deer picture, a composite, was painted on a transparent plastic sheet and projected on to the wall, then painted with painstaking accuracy, using acrylics.
Unfortunately, several trips to Bandipur to finish the mural meant that her overheads were increasing, so she stopped with the mural of the Chital, which itself took over 3 months to complete.
Sunita Dhairyam has gone further with her work, with screen-printed curtains and bedspreads matching each of her murals. I met her at Mangala Village, near Bandipur, working on her project involving the villagers in silk-screen printing of wildlife souvenirs.
Sunni is a colourful person who has lived and worked in three continents....she grew up in Zambia, studied in India ,and then went to the US, where she started with various media, and executed theatre backdrops and murals in residences.
An avid wildlifer, she returned to India and settled near Bandipur in 1995, working on reforestation as well. To give Mangala a viable source of income, she has started a silk-screen unit, concentrating on the younger villagers. She hopes that the fabric, tee-shirts and other materials they produce will sell well.
She is also working on an exhibition abroad, along with Shakthi, and a talented youngster from the village called Madhu.
She worked for JLR in the early 80's, when TigerTops, as it was then called, first brought eco-tourism to Karnataka. She has fond memories of working with "Papa" John Wakefield, the grand guiding spirit of JLR.
Ms. Jija Hari Singh, the MD of JLR, was warmly supportive of the initiative started by her predecessor. "I am myself an artist," she says, "and with art, you are in touch with your soul, your space, your spirituality."
So we may hope to see the murals at Bandipur completed,and perhaps we can see Art complementing Nature at the other resorts of JLR too!
Three beautiful murals: (Photos by sainath
Mayura, done by Shakthi Prasad
Chital, done by Sangeeta Kadur
Tusker, done by Sunita Dhairyam
To view all the photos of the murals, taken by my friend and fellow-wildlifer, Sainath Vellal, go to his photosite: