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Thota Vaikuntam 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 UnThe Telangana Woman - Nagammaiversity of Baroda.

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 works.

"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 identity.One of Vaikuntam's Creations

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 abroad.

Reviewing Vaikuntam's works, an art critic said that if Vaikuntam stops painting his women, the tragedy would be both his and ours!

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