Akkitham Narayanan – Indian painter based in Paris, known for fusion work in geometrical shapes & expressions

Akkitham Narayanan is a Paris-based Indian artist and painter. He belongs to Palakkad, Kerala. He is a recipient of Tamil Nadu State Lalit Kala Akademi Award thrice, Raja Ravi Varma Award of the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi and the Cagnes-sur-Mer International Festival of Painting Award, and many other honours. He has conducted exhibitions in France, Japan, Poland and Germany, and his paintings have been displayed in many elite galleries across the globe. He is the younger brother of celebrated Malayalam writer and Jnanpith recipient Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri.

Akkitham Narayanan was born in Amettikkara village of Kuttanellur, Palakkad in 1939 into a Namboodiri Brahmin family. He completed his higher studies in art in Chennai and France, with the help of government scholarship. He conducted his first exhibition in Chennai in year 1965, soon after completing his diploma and higher studies in Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai. With the help of a government scholarship, he moved to Paris for higher studies, and studied at École des Beaux-Arts. He completed his studies in 1970, and same year he conducted his first art exhibition in Paris. He got settled there, and continued with his artistic works. This artist, known for his unique contributions to modern painting has been honoured multiple times.

Akkitham Narayanan – Some interesting and less-known facts

1. He doesn’t give titles to his paintings, and gives importance to mystery the painting creates. In his words, “an acrobatic expression of his thought”.

2. Geometric shapes & configurations of abstract forms – is his signature style for many decades, and he doesn’t want to change it. Yet he has brought some kind of changes in the use of colours, in account to the change of trend and climate where he lived.

3. His paintings are based on the tantric tradition, giving unique interpretation for symbols and shapes of myth and religion. He creates unique fusion works combining Indian tantric tradition and European geometric art.

4. He rarely uses any medium other than oil.

5. Before he moved to France for higher studies, he taught batik painting at Ethiraj College for Women for a brief period.

6. He received two government scholarships for his art studies, one in Chennai soon after completing his diploma, and one in France.

7. While at Chennai he co- founded Cholamandal Artists’ Village in 1966, in association with his teachers at Government College of Fine Arts, D. P. Roy Choudhury, the then principal and K. C. S. Paniker.

8. While studying in France, he was a student of famous French painter Jean Bertholle. He studied monumental art under him. He also learnt engraving under Lucien Couteau.


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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