Posted on : 09/01/2015 12:19pm
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You can’t just see Yasala Balaiah’s work and move away; his vibrant stories of Telangana village life compel art lovers to linger and find an emotional connect. The passing away of this 81-year-old artist, popularly known as ‘Batik Balaiah’ on December 24, leaves a huge void in the Telangana art scenario.
A former teacher from Siddipet, Balaiah’s frames were rustic, rooted in a village atmosphere. His surroundings were his muse — a village couple dressed in traditional attire, men and women working in the fields, shepherds and Bathukamma festivities painted in crimson reds, yellows and green. It was his artistic tribute to the place and people he grew up with. “When you are in a village, can a farmer and a goat be missed? Rythulu (farmers), mekalu (goats), eddulu (bull)…; I draw what I have seen in my village,” he had said to the writer during an exhibition held in Hyderabad nine years ago.
Balaiah’s another son Raju Yasala mentions his father had used only red and white in his recent artworks. “Maybe he was conveying the onset of the pandemic,” he wonders. Recalling Balaiah’s three visits to the USA, Raju, a software engineer working in California recollects, “When people from Telangana living in the US met my father at exhibitions, they felt nostalgic. His paintings connected them to their roots. He was a role model for many of his students and meeting him in person was an emotional moment.”
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