Eminent artist and writer M.V. Devan dead

Eminent artist and writer Madathil Vasudevan, popularly as M.V. Devan died on Tuesday at his house at Alwaye in Kerala.

By T.k. Devasia

Published: Wed 30 Apr 2014, 10:49 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:45 PM

The 87-year-old, who is survived by wife Sridevi and daughter Jameela, died of old age ailments. He was highly popular in India as a painter, sculptor, critic and an orator. Born at Panniyannur in Kannur district on January 15, 1928, Devan started his artistic pursuits at the age of 10 through painting. He learned the basics of painting from Chennai Government School of Arts and Crafts under stalwarts like D.P. Roy Choudhary and K.C.S. Panicker.

He started his career as a staff artist at Mathrubhumi publications, Calicut. Apart from illustrations, he had contributed reviews, articles and features on art and paintings to the weekly. Later he served as art consultant at ‘Southern Languages Book Trust’, Chennai, Madras Lalit Kala Academy and New Delhi Lalit Kala Academy. He also served as chairman of the Kerala Lalita Kala Academy from 1974 to 1977. He founded Perunthachan (housing consultancy), Kerala Kalapeedam (painting school) and Malayala kalagramam, Mahe (artist village).

He had associated with literary publications like Navashakti, Gopuram, Sameeksha, Kerala Kavita and Jwala. Even though his initial passion towards art was with painting, he soon started involving himself in sculpting, philosophy, criticism and oratory.

He raised his voice against commercialisation of art through his criticism. He critically evaluated several works as well as the art scenario in Kerala through his many columns and speeches. These were later compiled and published as a book, which won the Vayalar award in 1999.

He won several awards and honours for his outstanding contributions. These include the prestigious Raja Ravi Varma award of the Kerala government, Fellowship of Kerala Lalita Kala Academy, Fellowship of Chennai Lalita Kala Academy, Malayatoor Fine Arts Award, Critics Award and M.K.K. Nair Award.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, his cabinet colleagues, leaders of various political parties and artists and writers have condoled Devan’s death. They described his death as a big loss to the world of arts.


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