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Artist narrates 300 km walking experiences through paintings
As part of his MPhil thesis presentation, Anthony Guruz, a student from the city, travelled from Chennai to Nagapattinam for 30 days and sketched his travel experiences
An MPhil Visual Communication Design student, Anthony Guruz while researching on how to present a thesis, realised that there are no visual representations in any thesis that was presented before. He wanted his thesis to stand out from the rest and decided to take it into another level. Out of the 100-page thesis on ‘How an artist creates images’, Anthony dedicated 70 pages for images and the rest for text. He travelled from Chennai to Nagapattinam on foot in 20 days in June 2019 and sketched his travel experiences.
“Many people have documented their travels in words, but only a few have made it as a visual presentation. Moreover, they travelled by public transport and not on foot. So, when I decided to do something unique, I thought embarking on a long journey on foot would bring in a new perspective. I like to observe people and their lifestyle and this was a great opportunity. I sketched whatever I have seen and experienced — there were images of people, landscapes, interesting observations, etc,” says Anthony, a student of Tamil Nadu Dr J Jayalalithaa Music and Fine Arts University, Adyar.
An artist by profession, Anthony covered 30-35 km every day and slept at roadside verandas. “Walking is something I enjoy the most. Since I had a limited time, I walked the maximum distance daily. I didn’t make any travel plans as such. Whenever I was ready, I walked. On the way, if some ideas struck me, I immediately took my sketchbook and drew. The entire process also helped me find my relationship with art. Rather than experimenting with colours, I sketched in monotone. Growing up, my mother used to narrate stories about how my father’s aunt used to walk from one village to another. During those trips, aunt faced many challenges. Those travel stories also inspired me to take up the journey,” says the 32-year-old artist. His works were displayed at two exhibitions inChennai recently.
Seeing him walking under the scorching sun for many kilometres, passers-by approached Anthony and asked him if he was walking for any cause or awareness programmes. “Sometimes, it is difficult to make people understand the purpose behind the walk. But I try and explain to them in a way they can understand. As an artist, I feel that art shouldn’t be confined to four walls. I believe that art in public spaces can enrich our lives in various ways,” he remarks. He also recalls how people mistook him for a thief and shooed him away from the neighbourhood. “Well, such things are part and parcel of travel expeditions like these, right?” he sums up.