He took Telangana women globe trotting
What could free art from the trappings of a stereotype?
The answer lies in the brilliance of one man. His name
is Thota Vaikuntam, an artist by profession -
for art lovers, he is the man who redefined the Telangana
women, the artist responsible for taking them all
over the globe.
Born in 1942, Vaikuntam took a diploma in painting
and a degree in fine arts. He also won a fellowship
from the MS University
However, as a child, his first love was the theatre
and he would expectantly watch the actors with great
admiration as they expertly impersonated a myriad of
characters. It was perhaps here that he first glimpsed
the subject that would be the trademark of his later
"I would fall in love with every female artist
who came to my village. Such was my passion for the
people involved in the performing arts."
It was after a long period of struggle that he came
up with the Telangana women. Since then, he has continued
to paint these women on and on. His women are dark in
the face and body but bright and colourful in mind and
clothes. With their oversized bindis, glinting nose
rings and bright Sircilla sarees, they instantly grab
the onlooker's attention. Of late, Vaikuntam is also
depicting man along with the Telangana woman. But it
is the Telangana women on whom he has bestowed a unique
In a career that has spanned nearly 30 years, he has
won many awards. He even stepped into the film field
and in 1998 won the national Best Art Director award
for the Telugu period film, Dassi. His works
are displayed in art galleries both in India and abroad.
According to art collectors, a Vaikuntam painting is
much sought after today in India and at auctions held
Reviewing Vaikuntam's works, an art critic said that
if Vaikuntam stops painting his women, the tragedy
would be both his and ours!