Manikandan Punnakkal, born in the Palakkad District, Kerala, obtained a National Diploma in Mural Painting from Guruvayur (Kerala) and a Master of Fine Art from Mysore, Karnataka. Punnakkal is a well-known contemporary mural artist from Kerala, who has done many mural projects all over the world – the most remarkable being the restoration of 80 murals at the Historical Vaikom Mahadeva temple in Kerala. His ability of capturing this traditional art form on canvas is remarkable. Manikandan has given life to a host of divine characters through his mural-inspired paintings.
Kerala murals are frescos depicting Indian mythology and legends which are drawn on the walls of temples and churches in South India. They echo the feelings of Indian spirituality prismed through the age-old mythologies and spirituality. Traditional murals used panchvarana (five colours) exclusively; red, yellow, green, black and white prepared from vegetable and mineral pigments. The style was popularised by the patronage of local rulers and landholders, who commissioned these paintings as a way of expressing their devotion.