The world of Malayalam literature lost one of its most iconic illustrators on July 7, 2023, when Artist Namboothiri breathed his last at the age of 97. He was a master of line art, who created unforgettable images of characters from the works of legendary writers like MT Vasudevan Nair, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, VKN and many others. He was also a versatile artist, who excelled in painting, sculpture, cartooning and art direction. His distinctive style and graceful strokes captured the essence of Kerala’s culture and history. He was a people’s artist, who touched the hearts of all he met with his humility and generosity. In this article, we will take a closer look at his life, achievements, family, net worth and more.
Artist Namboothiri Biography Profile
|Name||K. M. Vasudevan Namboothiri|
|Nick Name||Artist Namboothiri|
|Date of Birth||September 13, 1925|
|Birth Place||Ponnani, Malappuram district, Kerala, India|
|Age (as of 2023)||97 (deceased)|
|Profession||Painter, sculptor, illustrator, cartoonist, art director|
|Home Town/State||Ponnani, Kerala|
|College||Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai|
|Educational Qualification||Diploma in Fine Arts and Diploma in Applied Arts|
|Hobbies||Drawing, sculpting, reading|
|Children||Two sons, Parameshwaran and Vasudevan|
|Net Worth||Not known|
Artist Namboothiri Early Life and Education
Namboothiri was born in Ponnani, a coastal town located in Malappuram district of Kerala. He was the eldest son of Parameshwaran Namboothiri and Sreedevi Antharjanam who belonged to Karuvattu Mana – a traditional Brahmin family. From an early age he developed an interest in art after seeing sculptures at Sukapuram Temple near his house; these inspired him to draw and mould sculptures of his own accord. He also learned Sanskrit as well as traditional medicine from elders in his family.
Must Read : Who is Artist Namboothiri wife Mrinalini?
As part of his passion for art, he relocated to Chennai with financial support from Krishnan Namboodiri of Varikkasseri Mana – an arts patron and patron. At Chennai’s Government College of Fine Arts he studied under notable artists like Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury (founder/principal) as well as S Dhanapal (eminent artist) and K C S Paniker who became his mentor and friend). By 1954 he had earned both diplomas – diploma in Fine Arts and Diploma in Applied Arts!
Artist Namboothiri Family Details
Namboothiri was born into a traditional Brahmin family of Karuvattu Mana in Ponnani, Kerala. His parents were Parameshwaran Namboothiri and Sreedevi Antharjanam; his brother and sister’s names remain unknown. Namboothiri married Mrinalini who supported his artistic pursuits, having two sons named Parameshwaran and Vasudevan who would follow in his footsteps and also become artists themselves. The family lived at Naduvattam in Malappuram district where Namboothiri maintained both his ancestral house and studio.
|Father Name||Parameshwaran Namboothiri|
|Mother Name||Sreedevi Antharjanam|
|Brother(s)||One (name not known)|
|Sister(s)||One (name not known)|
|Children||Two sons, Parameshwaran and Vasudevan|
Artist Namboothiri Career Highlight
Namboothiri had an extraordinary and prolific career as an artist, illustrator, sculptor, cartoonist and art director. Beginning his career as a staff artist for Mathrubhumi weekly magazine in 1960 – where he illustrated literary works of many major writers in Malayalam such as Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, M. T. Vasudevan Nair Uroob S K Pottekkatt S Edasseri Govindan Nair Edasseri Govindan Nair and V.K.N – while publishing a popular pocket cartoon series called Naniyammayum Lokavum Pocket Cartoon Series Naniyammayum Lokavum; later working for Kalakaumudi magazine and Samakalika Malayalam Vaarika magazines as illustrator.
Namboothiri was widely revered for his striking yet graceful line art that captured the essence of Kerala culture and history. Additionally, he experimented with painting, sculpture and copper relief works – creating unforgettable images inspired by characters from Mahabharata, Ramayana, Aithihyamala legends as well as nature and daily life – drawing them as sources for his artworks. A master at finger painting he elevated it into an esteemed art form.
Namboothiri also entered cinematic art direction, winning the Kerala State Film Award for Best Art Director with Utharayanam directed by G. Aravindan in 1974 and also serving in that capacity for films like Thampu (1978), Esthappan (1980) and Pokkuveyil (1981).
Namboothiri served multiple terms as Chairman of the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi and was instrumental in setting up its own building in Thrissur as well as transforming Durbar Hall in Kochi into an art gallery. For his efforts he received both the Raja Ravi Varma Award from the Kerala government as well as Bala Sahitya Award from 2004 for illustrations for children’s literature.
PM Modi expresses grief on demise of renowned artist Namboothiri
Narendra Modi expressed his sadness over Namboothiri’s passing at age 97 in Kottakkal, Kerala. Namboothiri was known for his signature line art which brought many mythical and literary characters alive from Malayalam literature to life. He worked alongside such legendary writers as M T Vasudevan Nair (VTVAN), V K Narayanankutty Nair (VKN), Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, Uroob and Punathil Kunhabdulla as well as films Utharayanam and Kanchana Seetha by G Aravindan as art director on films like Utharayanam and Kanchana Seetha by G Aravindan respectively.
Some of the works of Artist Namboothiri:
|Line art||Randamoozham||Illustrations for M T Vasudevan Nair’s novel based on Mahabharata|
|Line art||Soundarya Lahari||Illustrations for Sankaracharya’s hymn on the beauty of Goddess Parvati, commissioned by actor Mohanlal|
|Line art||Naniyammayum Lokavum||A pocket cartoon series for Mathrubhumi weekly|
|Sculpture||Copper relief of Mahatma Gandhi||Installed at Gandhi Park in Kozhikode|
|Sculpture||Wooden sculpture of Buddha||Displayed at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi|
|Sculpture||Stone sculpture of a woman||Displayed at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai|
|Film||Utharayanam||Art direction for G Aravindan’s debut film|
|Film||Kanchana Seetha||Art direction for G Aravindan’s film based on Ramayana|
Artist Namboothiri Physical Stats and More:
|Height (Aprox.)||Not known|
|Weight (Aprox.)||Not known|
|Figure Size||Not known|
|Shoe Size||Not known|
Artist Namboothiri Favorite Things:
|Favorite Colour||Not known|
|Favorite Actor||Not known|
|Favorite Actress||Not known|
|Favorite Movies||Not known|
|Favorite Singers||Not known|
|Favorite Food||Not known|
|Favorite Designers||Not known|
|Favorite Books||Mahabharata, Ramayana, Aithihyamala and other epics and legends|
|Favorite Wear||Traditional white dhoti and shirt|
|Favorite Animal||Not known|
|Favorite Car||Not known|
|Favorite Things to Do||Drawing, sculpting, reading|
|Favorite Sports||Not known|
|Favorite Sports Person||Not known|
|Favorite Destination||Not known|
Artist Namboothiri Social Media Handles:
|Social Media Platform||Handle/Username|
|Facebook Page||Artist Namboothiri|
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