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June 2009 - last updated April 2013

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Articles on the net
Kerala has a tradition in the field of painting as is evidenced by the murals in temples, palaces and churches. The murals of Tirunandikkara (now in Kanyakumari district) and Tiruvanchikulam are reckoned as the earliest specimens of Kerala painting. These have been assigned to the period from the 9th to the 12th century A.D. Most of the murals now seen in Kerala temples belong to the period from 15th century onwards.One can say that the tradition of painting on walls began in Kerala with the pre-historic rock paintings found in the Anjanad valley of Idukki district. Archaeologists presume that these paintings belong to different periods from upper Paleolithic period to early historic period. Rock engravings dating to the Mesolithic period have also been discovered in two regions of Kerala, at Edakkal in Wayanad and at Perumkadavila in Tiruvananthapuram district....

Archaeological evidences point to the period from the mid-sixteenth century onwards as the most prolific period of mural art of Kerala. Srikumara's Silparatna, a sixteenth century sanskrit text on painting and related subjects must have been enormously useful to contemporary and later artists. This treatise has been acclaimed as a rare work on the techniques of Indian art, the like of which has not been published before or after. It discusses all aspects of painting, aesthetic as well as technical and it is greatly useful in understanding the later medieval murals of Kerala......

Mattancheri Murals
Mattancheri is an artist's delight, it is home to some very beautiful frescoes. The walls of some of the palace chambers are adorned with paintings done in the traditional mural style of Kerala. (contd)

Pundareekapuram Murals
What makes this temple so special to the art lover, apart from the rare idol, are the exquisite paintings on the walls of the sanctum. Eight large panels and about twenty smaller ones feature episodes from the Hindu myths and the Puranas.

Ettumanoor Murals
Ettumanoor temple is also a museum of rare and beautiful works of art and sculptures in wood and stone. The walls of the central shrine or sanctum are paneled with intricate and delicately carved wood. These panels form a kind of screen around the circular shrine.

Panayannarkavu Murals
The goddess inspires fear and awe in the faithful. But as one walks into the temple and beholds the paintings around the shrines, the initial fear vanishes and a rare calm settles in. Familiar stories from the Puranas, in gentle and pleasant tones adorn the walls.

Gajendra Moksha of Krishnapuram
This palace also contains one of the largest mural panels in Kerala. The famed Gajendra Moksha mural that measures fourteen feet by eleven feet is on the ground floor of the palace on the west, from where one can walk down to the palace pool.

Padmanabhapuram Murals
Murals decorate the inner walls of the room. These paintings depict gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon and are intended to create a congenial atmosphere for meditation.

The Murals of Mattanchery and Padmanabhapuram Palaces
article posted by Mr.Sreenivasa Rao at

Contemporary artists

S.Suresh Kumar, popularly known as artist Suresh Muthukulam
After schooling, he joined a painting school in Haripad and fine-tuned his skills at a painting school in Mavelikara. On successful completion of these courses, he joined a five year degree course ‘Kerala tradition in murals’, an innovative 'Gurukula' tradition course initiated by the Guruvayur Devaswom. There he was fortunate to be tutored under late Mammiyoor Krishnankutty Nair, a stalwart with in-depth knowledge and creativity related to the art of Kerala mural creations.
Mammiyoor Aasan's tutelage was a turning point in the career and life of Suresh. By then, he realized the way ahead for him should be to choose the less trodden world of murals. He spent more time on imbibing the essence and pulse of Kerala murals, which hinged on themes related to history, epics and events from puranas. Later through his works, he created a path of his own and took Kerala murals creations to new levels and unknown themes, so far not experimented by the artists in Kerala mural tradition.
Source: making-of-the-artist.htm

Mural artist, Naveen Bhaskar

Naveen has a first-class National Diploma in Mural Painting, from the Institute of Mural Painting, Guruvayur Devaswom, Guruvayur.
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Vinod Kumar. N

Vinod, hailing from God Own Country (Kerala ), began his illustrious career in the world of creative imagination as a visualizer in one of the most respected advertising agencies in India at Bangalore. A Diploma Holder in Painting from the University College of Fine Arts, in Davangree, Karnataka, he has enhanced his skill, with a diploma in Software Applications.

Art on the walls - Article featured in THE HINDU
Suganthy Krishnamachari, THE HINDU, Friday Review, Jun 05, 2009

K.U. Krishnakumar, principal of the Institute of Mural Painting in Guruvayoor, talks about this unique art form.
The architecture in Kerala temples follows the ‘panchamala’ pattern. The mandapam of the sanctum sanctorum, or the Sreekovil as it is called, has five layers. The first layer is the Bhoothamala, with carvings of ogres and demons. It also shows human beings engaged in daily activities. The mrigamala shows animals foraging for food, fighting with each other, mating and tending to their young. The pakshimala is a depiction of birds, and the vanamala has scenes of the forest. Below these four layers, and between the carved wooden pillars, is the space that is covered by mural paintings - Chitramala.....

Sadanandan had done an intensive five year course in Mural painting in Kerala - South India, which was the strong foundation for his highly acclaimed accomplishments. His elaborate and exquisite works adorn many private collectors’ homes extending from New Delhi to New York.
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Story of an artwork: PK Sadanandan on preparing his mural for Biennale 2016
-, 14 Dec 2016

Anil's Mural paintings

Anil V C is a dynamic, young artist whose painting style has been inspired by the traditional mural style of Kerala.
His paintings drawing inspiration from the sacred texts or Dhyana Slokas are characterized by their line accuracy, the adherence to color symbolism, elaborate ornamentations and sensitive portrayal of emotions.
He is an active part of the new genre artists involved in the revival of the traditional style mural art form, while also adapting the mural style to modern minds and spaces.

Murals by V.R.Krishnan