Sandiv Art Gallery by artist Madhu Kannan brings together many art forms


The gallery of the artist Madhu Kannan brings together many forms of art and in particular the Tanjore style of painting

The gallery of the artist Madhu Kannan brings together many forms of art and in particular the Tanjore style of painting

“Traditionally, Tanjore paintings were done on dried wooden planks of mango or jackfruit trees which signified prosperity,” says artist Madhu Kannan. We are seated at her Sandiv art gallery, where she has exhibited a curated collection of her paintings.

“Hindu deities and saints are the main subjects of Tanjore paintings. They usually have almond-shaped eyes and a well-rounded body. Then we add layers to achieve three different types of finishes like classic (flat work), double embossing and 3D. Embossing adds depth and highlights ornaments and robes,” she explains, guiding me through a section that features the gods in relief. The artist uses 22k gold leaf, glass pieces and semi-precious stones as embellishments and the finished work is quite dazzling.

Works exhibited at the Sandiv Art Gallery

Works exhibited at the Sandiv Art Gallery

A handmade 3D painting of Tirupati Balaji takes pride of place. It is huge with an eye-catching finish with lavish use of teak framed semi-precious stones. Madhu shows the garland around the deity. “Each flower has been handcrafted and embossed using ceramic powder. We use traditional temple designs like the Annapakshi, mayil, lotus, sangu chakram and parrot as well as hand patterns lifting.

Apart from Tanjore paintings, Madhu also does oil work, Madhubaani, metal embossing, murals and glass painting. She has been involved in the art for over two decades.

“It’s because of my love of colors,” comes her playful explanation. “As a child, I watched my mother indulge in cross-stitching, beading and knitting. I just followed her. My first painting was on fabric for a cousin,” she recalls.

The establishment of the Sandiv Art Gallery, with an exclusive exhibition space and a workspace, was an important step. Supported by a team of artists, its mission is to make art accessible to everyone, not just connoisseurs. “To reach out, we also experimented with secular portraits in the style of Tanjore. These paintings bring positivity. You can hang them in your living room and enjoy the good vibes.

Later, she added two more branches to the gallery and created an e-commerce website. “I get a lot of repeat orders from overseas customers. They are open to experimentation. Almost every day we have shipments leaving for Australia, Singapore, the United States or Central Asia,” says Madhu.

The first step in making Tanjore paints begins with preparing the board. “First we prepare the surface, the waterproof plywood. We use a lot of materials like gum arabic (from the bark of Karuvelam trees and available in stores), chalk powder, gold leaf and poster colors. In the past, artists would grind tamarind seeds and use the paste for embossing. And the colors were mostly vegetable dyes.

Madhu enrolled in many art classes. “I learned how to perfect the artwork after several courses, including an advanced painting diploma at the Raviraj Institute.”

In her gallery, she also has artistic key rings, decorative trays and jewelry boxes, made in the styles of glass painting and Tanjore painting. There are also designs on the pottery. “Recently, we delivered a Buddha mural, a hand-made Gayathri mantra prayer book, and Navasakthi Ganesha (different Ganesha postures) fusion work. We have also carried out fusion work on the ceilings of the houses. Although we use teak wood frames for all our work, we offer a choice of wood finishes. »

Madhu is particularly pleased with a model parliament as mirror relief work for a client in Delhi. “We imagined abstract paintings of Krishna for the meditation room of the Nana-Naani retirement home. For the Amara Resort in Pollachi, we made eight themed murals with rustic scenes on which we embossed textures like pebbles.

His specialties include the Asthalakshmi Puja Room Door (we’ve sold hundreds!) and other puja room sets. Madhu says being a member of Business Network International (BNI) has helped her structure a business model. “When someone takes a painting from us, he or she should feel positive vibes. And, keep coming back for more. For an artist, that’s all that matters.


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