Suresh Muthukulam, the young mural artist who expanded the rich opulence of many century old Kerala mural paintings tradition from temple, church and royal courtyard walls to novel and wider canvasses. He was the last fortunate to be tutored under late Mammiyoor Krishnankutty Nair, a stalwart with in-depth knowledge and creativity related to the art of Kerala mural paintings.
MAKING OF THE ARTIST
Artist S.Suresh Kumar, popularly known as artist Suresh Muthukulam, was born in 1971 in a Central Travancore hamlet Muthukulam in the Alappuzha district. Born as the sixth child to K.Sukumaran and Pulamaja, he was the youngest in the family. Born in a village known to have produced some of the greatest artists of Kerala like two of Malayalam cinema’s ever living figures like Director P. Padmarajan and Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai it was quite natural for this born artist to conceive the typical central Travancore tradition of village life, art, colour, culture and festivities since childhood.
Mesmerized by the village life and its environment, its splendor and nature, the artist within young Suresh bloomed painting the scenes of his native village, as reflected in his paintings during early school days. No wonder, young Suresh won numerous awards in school and local paining competitions. Fortunately for him, some of his teachers nurtured his talents and egged him to learn the intricacies of colour mixing and painting techniques. Suresh also researched the oil paintings of the masters and some western painters to learn more about the medium.
IMBIBING THE ART FORM
After schooling, he joined a painting school in Haripad and fine-tuned his skills at a painting school in Mavelikara. On successful completion of these courses, he joined a five year degree course ‘Kerala tradition in murals’, an innovative ‘Gurukula’ tradition course initiated by the Guruvayur Devaswom. There he was fortunate to be tutored under late Mammiyoor Krishnankutty Nair, a stalwart with in-depth knowledge and creativity related to the art of Kerala mural creations.
Mammiyoor Aasan’s tutelage was a turning point in the career and life of Suresh. By then, the realized the way ahead for him should be to choose the less trodden world of murals. He spent more time on imbibing the essence and pulse of Kerala murals, which hinged on themes related to history, epics and events from puranas. Later through his works, he created a path of his own and took Kerala murals creations to new levels and unknown themes, so far not experimented by the artists in Kerala mural tradition.
Learned painting since childhood and studied at two painting schools in Haripad and Mavelikara. Took three year Diploma in Painting from the Modern Fine Arts, Mavelikara (1986-1989). Took five-year National Diploma from Institute of Mural Painting, Guruvayoor Devaswom, Guruvayoor (1989-1994).
Worked as visiting lecturer, Ravi Varma Institute of Fine Arts, Mavelikara (1995).
Current job Chief Mural Artist, Vasthuvidya Gurukulam, Aaranmula, a unit of the Kerala Cultural Department.
Wife : Swapna
Son : Siddarth