This 77-yr-old artist turns waste fabrics and even rice flour into art

A self-taught artist, Valsala Narayanan displayed her works at an exhibition recently

valasala-edit Valsala Narayanan at the exhibition | Manorama

With the push for sustainability gaining in momentum in diverse fields, an artist has been discovering the beauty of objects as mundane as saw dust, sand and even rice flour. What piques our interest further is the fact that the artist is a 77-year-old woman who is rediscovering her passion.

A self-taught artist, Valsala Narayanan featured her works at the Lalithakala Akademy Art Gallery in Thrissur, Kerala, recently. On display were 60 unique artworks. For Valsala who relocated to Kolkata after marriage at an early age, art was what she turned to when her husband and kids would leave home for work and studies. “My first attempt was a painting of two deers which I did with powdered fabrics. When I had nothing to do, I just randomly tried powdering fabrics and finally used it as a medium for the art work,” she said.

As she experimented with fabrics of different type and colours, she was appreciated for her works. This motivated her to go deep into the medium. However, art took a break as she got more engaged family and responsibilities at home. It was then after the age of 60 that she found time to resume her exploration into different media. Everyday things ranging from coffee powder and rice flour to flower seeds and saw dust were turned into beautiful artworks. She frequently collected the waste fabrics from a tailor, and finally gifted an artwork to him as a token of gratitude.

Valsala, who is devotee of Lord Krishna of the famous Guruvayur temple in Kerala, says it is a visit to the temple that changed her life around. While she was examining a stall exhibiting statues and artworks, she talked about herself to the stall keeper who was keen to see her artworks. On her next visit to the temple, she took some of her artworks along and the stall keeper suggested she exhibit them. The exhibition was organised with the help of her relative Vinod Kanneri, who is a professor at the Thrissur Fine Arts College.

Valsala sets an example for the younger generation to step in, encouraging them to pursue their passions, even if they have not received any formal training.