April 9, 2021
On a Sunday morning, I found myself cooler than usual in the comfort of Wilson Dsouza’s uniquely designed home-cum-art studio in Pilar, Shirva. Wilson Kayyar, as most people know him by, is an artist professionally, and is artful by nature; this became more evident as the day progressed.
On entering his home, I was introduced to a group of theatre artists, who were invited to perform a play the previous night. Wilson explains with great enthusiasm, how exciting it was to witness art up-close and how important it was to encourage its growth. This passion that he has for art and culture is quite visibly seen in this little oasis he has created. The walls of his home, if not painted white, were left as its brick exterior and on them hung antiques that complimented his large, semi-abstract paintings.
Most of Wilson’s paintings are figurative. They reflect on the beauty of femininity, its versatility; from the woman who toils in the fields, to the one who attends to her child’s needs. Each of them depicted exuberantly through an array of colours. The subject matter he displays aren’t unusual and are frequent examples taken from his sphere of life.
Semi-abstract art pieces are often described to border between the real and the unreal world. His subjects too seem dream-like and showcase glimpses of life without emphasising on the details. The faceless women he paints, allows you to truly immerse yourself in them, since he represents the diverse roles of femininity. These relatable figures that he brings to life, through bold strokes of oil colours on large canvases, best embodies nature and its serenity.
His style defines every curve and it often portrays women in motion, constantly in action, performing each task with grace. There is an enigmatic flair in them which draws you in and it invites you to uncover its tenderness.
You can observe how his paintings are a celebration of womanhood in a world where patriarchy still continues to rule. It sheds a light on those who are often side-lined, the women who belong to the poor, un-informed, underprivileged, simple class of society.
Something else that truly fascinated me, is the contrast between his personal work and the beauty he unfolds in his church murals, several of them are painted across churches along the coast. It is pleasing to see how both of his styles are drastically different and incredibly beautiful in their own way.
Church murals are often observed to be painted on the interior walls of the church. Several of them follow similar techniques but differ in terms of their themes. The style of art often seen to be inspired by are Gothic, Romanesque or Renaissance.
Wilson ensures that there’s a level of delicacy while working on murals. He explained the process as he walked me through his panoramic work of art for St. Lawrence Church, Moodubelle. His most recent project and one of his most cherished.
While working on his projects, Wilson uses his creative freedom in combining naturalism and humanism. While it may lack the usual grandeur often expected from a Renaissance inspired mural, it makes up for it with its vibrant colours. I, for one believe, this approach of toning down the ceremoniousness of it, allows you to feel most connected with what it teaches.
While analysing the mural as a whole, you can see that it has been cleverly divided into parts. Each one telling the story of Christ and finally ending with the church’s patron saint; St. Lawrence. What is most ingenious to see, is Wilson’s way of creating a smooth transition between the mural and the already existing carved marble statues, present on the walls.
The glass-stained windows as well as the central crucifix has been left untouched and easily conforms to his latest rendition. This enables the story to continue in harmony, and its simplicity allows for anyone to understand the journey of Christ.
When it comes to creative liberty, he tends to leave behind subtle hints. He pointed out to me a couple of lanterns placed at the corners of various scenes in the mural. This, he claims to represent the antique lanterns he has at home. Another Easter egg is the faces of the characters on the mural, some of them, he admitted, are painted using his friends and family as stand-ins.
At first glimpse of the mural, you could assume that it would have taken at least a year’s time to be completed, while in fact, Wilson took about two and half months to finish the entire piece. Each section he claimed was a week’s work. This says a lot about Wilson’s skill and experience as an artist.
While he always had a knack for art, photography was another field he dabbled in. It was a short-lived venture which led him to realise that making art was where he truly found himself. Over the years, Wilson has slowly honed his techniques and has several accolades and exhibitions to show for it. While his work is well appreciated elsewhere, he hopes that Mangalore too opens itself to cultivate and support its home-grown artists.
Reference for article taken from: https://www.mojarto.com/artists/wilson-souza-32778