In his youth, he ran away from home in south India to pursue the dream of becoming an artist.
But for S V Rama Rao, the US-based Indian painter returning to India, to create a body of work for a maiden exhibition here is a return to his own roots.
Based in Chicago now, Rao, 76, who grew up in a small town in Gudivada in Andhra Pradesh is presenting his ‘celebration of colours’ on canvas here in an ongoing exhibition titled 'Nature's Abstract Glory' where nature poetically segues into an abstract narrative.
However, for Rao the occasion brings with it the sweep of nostalgia as he journeys from his childhood to dreams he had dreamt to his leaving Indian shores and coming back, albeit briefly.
‘To pursue my dreams, as a youth I once ran away from home in Gudivada, because my father wouldn't like me being an artist. I even boarded a train out of the town but after a few stations I started thinking of my mother and family and decided to come back,’ Rao told PTI in an interview.
‘My father later took me to a known artist in the Andhra film industry and in a way I undertook my apprenticeship there under him. Later, I enrolled at the Madras College of Fine Arts where we were taught by renowned artists like Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury. And, my journey began from there,’ he says.
But the septuagenarian artist counts his unlettered father as one of his inspirations and source of valuable lessons in life.
‘My father used to make these beautifully carved columns for temple and houses. And, though he was never educated I thought how did he manage to do it? So, I learned that sometimes education stifles our creativity and the language of imagination does not need a formal education,’ he says.
The painter whose current display of works, all made during his recent India sojourn draws inspiration from the colours of nature and tells stories, as a flight of bird disappears chromatically into a landscape or a cityscape.