The Mahabharata has fascinated artists for centuries. It is a seemingly inexhaustible source of subjects. What fascinates the veteran artist, Shuvaprasanna, though, are not the tales of the epic but the emotions that its characters embody. Each canvas — done in media as varied as acrylic, charcoal and ink — focuses on one character, painted in the artist’s signature modernist style with prominent features and bold hues. In most cases, there are no overtly dramatic expressions or gestures. The eyes dominate the face and reveal the characters’ true colours.
The characters are both real and imagined — a man is reimagined as a bird, a snake is humanised, and the lines between deities and demons are blurred. Beauty and cruelty coexist (Draupadi), as do love and revenge (Karna). The canvases convey, much like the Mahabharata, the fluid lines that separate notions of good and evil.