Bringing Forth the Colors of Kerala in America: Anujan Ezhikode

Anujan Ezhikode, Visual Artist (Brooklyn, NY)

By Diana Rohini LaVigne

Bringing Forth the Colors of Kerala in America

Anujan Ezhikode

Visual Artist (Brooklyn, NY)

Award-winning visual artist Anujan Ezhikode has exhibited widely at museums, galleries, universities, and libraries among them the Queens Museum of Art, Islip Art Museum, the Hammond Museum, JCAL, the Aicon Gallery, The Guild Art Gallery, the Twelve Gates Art Gallery in Philadelphia, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, and the galleries at University of Connecticut, Penn College, and Stony Brook University. Ezhikode was raised in a rural community in India, where all aspects of daily life were intertwined with religious and folk rituals, which combined music, dance, theater and visual art. This experience was further augmented by his training in classical theater arts at the Kerala State Academy of Arts (the Kerala Kalamandalam). This background of vibrant color, movement and images distilled in him and still appear as a constant residue in his work. Some opportunities that helped grow his artistic aesthetic in the U.S. were a “Diverse Forms Artists Projects Regional Initiative Grant,” a “Project Studio Program Residency at Painting Space 122,” an installation for the “Mid-Manhattan library Art in Windows series” and a “Manhattan Graphics Center Fall Printmaking Scholarship.”

In 2009, he was one of six artists whose work and words were featured in an audio, video and live presentation for the National Day of Listening at the NYPL on Fifth Avenue. The interview material is archived at the Library of Congress. In 2010, his solo show, “Journey Through Broken Bubbles,” was held at the UUFH Gallery in Huntington, NY, and he was the featured artist at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s show “Lineage,” where he presented an installation, print and painting project called “Transparent Space.”  Among the many exhibits he participated in 2011 were the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s show “Wide Open 2” juried by Nathan Trotman, curator, Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum and the Newark Annual Arts Festival’s Invitational Artist Exhibition “IRONBOUND UNBOUND #2”.

In fact to be included in the National Day of Listening and have his work and words featured in an audio, video and live presentation at the NYPL on Fifth Avenue, and archived at the Library of Congress, has been his biggest accomplishment. He was the only Asian in the group of six and he feels this gave his work validation and a chance to discuss the rich artistic lineage of Indian arts. 

His influences in life and his work come from his childhood. “The influences on my art are not by a single person but rather the total experience of my childhood. The sound and color of classical and religious rituals of Kerala, spanning from the everyday early morning puja to the overnight performances of Kathakali, that theatricality and drama still fuel my art,” explains Ezhikode.

So what is the hidden talent of this incredible visual artist? He replies, “Most people don’t know that I actually like to cook. To me it is like working in the studio, with ingredients as my colors and materials.  I love the process of chopping and arranging to create an edible collage.”

Whether it is in the kitchen or the studio or at a public space, Anujan Ezhikode is someone to keep your eye on.

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