How rural India is a rich source of art and inspiration: ‘Dance with the Bulls,’ by Mohammed Osman

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 345 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery, world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Gallery G was launched in 2003 by Gitanjali Maini to showcase contemporary Indian artists, and build a community of art fans, collectors, and investors. It also partners with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, and sources art for venues like Four Seasons Hotel.

In Part I of our photo essay and Part II today, we feature the works of artists Ganapati Hegde, Bose Krishnamachari, Sangeeta Abhay, Nitin Nangare, Sujith Kumar, Buwa Shete, Om Swami, Prakash Ghadge, and Anni Kumari.

Rural India is a rich source of art and inspiration, explains Mohammed Osman in a chat with YourStory. He grew up in a village near Hyderabad, and specialises in art depicting rural life in Telangana. Now based in Hyderabad, he also worked as a commercial artist designing signboards. He is now focusing fully on works like the series on gangireddu or decorated ox (also known as basava in Kannada).

Lavishly-decorated oxen and their feats are a colourful part of village festivities during Sankranti or Pongal, he describes. It is a common belief that the oxen brought to houses by the gangireddulavaru community are symbols of good luck to households.

The bulls, festooned with colourful clothes and anklets, also move rhythmically to nadaswaram and drum beats. The clothes are donated by wealthy families, and are used to decorate the bulls. “The forms were so artistic that they leaped out at me,” Mohammed recalls; he then decided to capture their beauty in art forms.

Mohammed has a degree in painting from the College of Fine Arts at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad. Over the last 18 years, he has completed over 350 works of art. The gangireddu paintings are priced at Rs 2.2 lakh each, and have fetched buyers from overseas as well, he says.

“Art transcends the traditional and the contemporary,” Mohammed explains. “Just as the voice is the signature of a singer, so also the unique style and technique is the signature of a painter.”

“We are all artists, singers and dancers in childhood, but the unique personality of art comes from faith and hard work,” Mohammed says. He advises audiences to find time to appreciate art. “If I can get audiences to spend five minutes looking at my works, I feel happy,” he adds.

Mohammed also offers tips and suggestions to aspiring artists. “Show your art, and get feedback. Success takes a long time, the artistic journey calls for patience and perseverance,” he emphasises.

“It was my soul that pushed me to art. If you feel the calling for art, give it a shot,” he advises. It is easier for artists to promote their work today, thanks to social media. In earlier days, artists had to travel to cities to get feedback and promote their art, he recalls. It took him four years of hard work to get his first art sale. “There are no shortcuts to success,” Mohammed signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule, reflect on your true calling, and unleash your creative soul?

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See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.