Tribute to Kodagu-born artist: P.M. Belliappa donates Rani Pooviah’s painting
Rani Pooviah, a Kodagu-born painter who made a mark as an artist nearly 50 years ago in Chennai, was remembered recently by her peers, thanks to retired Tamil Nadu IAS officer P.M. Belliappa.
At a function organized by The Pemanda Monappa Trust and The Coorg Association Madras, Mr Belliappa donated to Cholamandal Museum of Madras Movement, a painting of the late Rani Pooviah.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Belliappa said: “”Coorg has very few artists of repute and I felt it was a glaring omission that Rani’s work was not in the museum, which traces the ‘Madras Movement’, of which she was a part.””
The function was attended by well-known artist S.G. Vasudev who recalled his close association with Rani.
Born Puttichanda Rani Pooviah, she studied art in Chennai at Stella Maris College and the College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai. She was one of principal K C S Paniker’s favourite students and taught at the college later. “”She was vivacious and well-read with a wonderful sense of humour and brilliant organisational skills,”” recalled Mr Vasudev.
Her student, sculptor S Nandagopal, remembers her as a vivacious person with a striking personality who made art classes enjoyable.
Mr Nandagopal, who now runs the museum, recalled, “When I joined the college as a student, Rani was teaching History of Art. I remember, the first thing she said in class was that we were not going to talk about Greek or French art history, but about what some of our own great artists such as Janakiraman had done. That was a wonderful thing.”
After her marriage to Nadikerianda Rana Nanjappa, Rani moved to the US in the 1970s . In March 1982, she went into a coma following a serious car accident, from which she never recovered.
Bangalore architect H.C. Thimmaiah, also a painter and a member of the Madras Art Club in late 1960s, said Rani was held in high esteem in the art circles.
Rani’s work is described as being balanced and contemplative, yet full of energy and colour. She drew inspiration from large kolams and colourful rangoli patterns. Writing for Illinois Art Council in Chicago, she had said, “”The complex geometric patterns of kolam in white, pure and strong and the colour contrast in the rangoli helped me discover geometric forms in Indian dance and music. For example, in Bharatanatyam, besides the graceful rhythm, there are strong angular movements, giving ideas of geometrical patterns traced in the air. These are my inspiration.””