Kapu Rajaiah

Kapu Rajaiah is well known for his envigoured, folk derivations of human forms engaged in performing rituals and festivals of a neglected community who struggle to make their presence felt. His famous paintings of ‘Bonalu’, ‘Kolatam’, ‘Veedhi Bhagavatham’ etc inform of the rural life, while the dark skinned woman becomes an iconic representation of the regional identity and distinction. It would not be an exaggeration to call Kapu Rajaiah as the forerunner of the now so popular ‘Telangana art’ carried forward by many artists. He was an artist who struggled to make his own mark of distinct Telangana flavoured art in a time when most of the Progressive groups made efforts to imitate Western influences and approaches. While these modernists could bring their personal touch and make an idiom synonymous with contemporary art, Rajaiah initiated the revival of folk art such as Nakashi scroll painting tradition by taking inspiration from it and placing it on the pedestal of so called ‘high art’. With this consciousness he began painting women centered subjects in the 1950’s such as ‘Yellamma Jogi’, ‘Vaddera women’ and ‘Bathukamma’ etc belonging particularly to subaltern castes of Telangana. Kapu Rajaiah’s works become significant and relevant in today’s context in acclaiming and reasserting Telangana and its people’s culture as a way of life unique to the region.

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