Niranjan Jonnalagadda was born in 1967, into a family of Kalamkari artists. His great grandfather Guruppa’s Tree of Life, an indigo-shaded Kalamkari masterpiece, hangs in London’s Victoria and Albert museum, as does his grandfather Lakshmaiah’s Story of Ramayana, an exquisitely nuanced pictorial version of the epic ‘told’ in the language of Kalamkari. His father Guruppa Chetty is a prolific master artist, the brilliance of whose art has won him the Padmashri award. Gurappa taught his son the Kalamkari craft who successfully continues the artistic skills and family traditions, reviving the art and keeping the tradition alive.
Niranjan has many state, national and international awards to his credit including a Doctorate from Delhi University. His creative oeuvre spans stunning wall hangings, which bring alive stories from the Epics and Puranas, ‘Tree of Life’ imagery as well as the exotic world of paradisical birds, animals and butterflies.
Kalamkari is the art of painting with a kalam or a pen on specially treated cloth. The main subject of Kalamkari painting – mythological stories. The painting is done with natural dyes, made from indigo, madder, as well as various other seeds and flowers. The process involves more than a dozen steps, among them – bleaching of the fabric, soaking it in animal dung solutions, using wax resist dyeing methods.