Unsung, yet on a song
CAN AN 80-year-old person move on his own? He, perhaps, needs a stick or someone to take him around within the house. But, for Kondapally Seshagiri Rao, an acclaimed painter, not a day passes without touching paint or brush.
All the big names who are in news for their creative paintings are disciples of Seshagiri Rao, who has maintained a low profile all his life training hundreds of students. Though he received several awards and recognised the world over, Telugus know little about this maestro. Unlike commercial artists who are making a fast buck, Rao remains contended with what he has got in life. Having retired from the College of Fine Arts and Craft, he was happily spending his time painting and playing with his grandchildren.
“I have no remorse. My specialisation is mythological painting and I derive great pleasure in painting them,” he explained. On the fellowship given by the Lalitha Kala Academy, Seshagiri Rao has completed 16 paintings depicting the Kalidasa’s Abhignana Shankulam which is yet to get published due to fund crunch.
It all began when the Minister, Mehdi Nawaj Jung, in the then Nizam Government, who spotted the creative talent in young Seshagiri Rao, sent him to the Shantinekatan to perfect the art. Struggling hard in life, he joined the Government services as teacher and went on to be become Principal of the college.
His paintings were exhibited in London, the US, Moscow and at several corners of the country.
He was once recognised as the best painter by the Government of India. Rao specialised mainly in portraits, Indian painting, folk and mythological.
“I belong to Warangal and I learnt my first lessons from my masters here only,” he says proudly.
Asked to comment on the recent trends in painting, particularly the recent artists choosing abstract, Seshagiri Rao says he cannot comment, but adds that anyone who sees a painting should get joy, draw inspiration and develop a zeal to become a painter himself or herself.
The Parcha Ranga Rao Memorial Trust has rightly chosen Seshagiri Rao this year to felicitate him in recognition of his services in the field of art.
“Irrespective of caste and creed, the trust has decided to honour the unsung heroes,” said Parcha Kodandarama Rao of the trust.
By Gollapudi Srinivas Rao
source- The Hindu, Life, March 9, 2004