ABOUT US

Kalamkarirenigunta.com is started by Mrs. Manjula, daughter of Award-Winning Craftsman G. Krishna Reddy, who lives and breathes their craft in Kalahasti, near Tirupathi in Chittoor district, in southern Andhra Pradesh.


Krishna Reddy, a student of the venerable Jonnalagadda Lakshmaiah, is a first generation master craftsman, unusualy attached to his craft while most families in Kalahasti who have paracticed Kalamkari for generations are giving it up and moving on to other livelihoods. Krishna Reddy's art should be seen against the backdrop of contemporary Kalamkari which is practised more as an applied art, worn and slept on, while Krishna Reddy himself practices it as pure art alone.


It is ironical that among the 400 or so Kalamkari artists that Kalahasti boasts of, only 7 or 8 people can sketch and that Krishna Reddy's family is one of them. The rest of the artists only dye, possessing the necessary technical knowledge to produce Kalamkari cloth. Some of the reasons for the rarity of those who sketch is the additional demands on knowledge and skill. In order to sketch, the artist requires knowledge of the vast body of themes that Kalamkari has been associated with for centuries, the epics in particular, the improvisational ability to present the much-told stories in new light, the compositional skills to plan and execute the literary and artistic themes, and the knowledge of the treatises that inspire this art.


In addition to possessing each of these attributes in ample measure, Krishna Reddy is also a great colourist, infusing a great many more shades into his Kalamkaris than one is used to seeing. At the same time, he remains true to his craft, refusing to use dyes other than natural, while expediency has long since permitted and made legitimate the use of chemicals on cloth, a practice that substantially diminishes the life of the cloth that can otherwise survive hundreds of years if taken care of reasonably well.


Apart from his magnum opus 'Sampoorna Ramayanam' whose sheer size and magnificence has acquired for it a memorable place in the domain of Kalamkari art, some of Krishna Reddy's other works which are in demand both in the domestic and international markets include pieces on the Mahabaratha, Bhagavata, Bhagwad Gita, the Ramayana, Ashta Lakshmi, Ashta Ganapathi, screens/curtains with neatly drawn pictures of Jesus Christ and works on Indian mythological characters and temple arts. As Krishna Reddy boasts, "This art is as old as human civilisation".

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