In conversation with artist PAVI SANKAR: on art as satire and a revolution in India

“Passion is powerfully spirited, it’s set in stone. Once it grips your heart, there is no going back.”

Pavi Sankar, a fresh and ecstatic artist who hails from Panchavilakam, near Neyyattinkara, has put his artistic stamp on the walls of Kochi, India. He is best described as a ‘passionate soul balanced with a heart which craves liberation’. Stepping up the popularity ladder, he has recently left many mesmerized with his graffiti work and digital art on his fabled instagram page and recently he was also invited as a speaker for Tedx.

Pavi’s digital paintings feature a mix of political satire and western Indian art. “My art is from the heart, a whimsical reaction to everything around me, often topical, often satirical. It does not conform to a particular style, only I aim for – is a good finish,” muses the down-to-earth youngster, known for his dry wit.

 

Pavi Sankar started off his career by creating drawings using charcoal and color chalks on the walls of his house. “I’ve been drawing and sketching ever since I can remember. After my secondary education (from Government Boys High School, Neyyattinkara), bowing down to family pressure, I joined a polytechnic institute. I lasted precisely three months there. That’s when I came to know about Fine Arts and signed up for a BFA degree in painting,” says Pavi.

 “I can draw anything and everything and as an artist everything and everyone inspires me.”

Not surprisingly, Pavi claims to be a great fan of Banksy, the England-based graffiti artist with an unverified identity. “Banksy’s works are my inspiration as they offer freedom of expression without a fear of being restricted. His satirical street art combines dark humor with graffiti, executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. He works with black and white shades that convey deep meanings. His work, Girl with a Red Balloon in London motivated me for Wall for Peace, the graffiti works in Kochi and Trivandrum,” says Pavi Sankar.

Bansky-streettrotter
Girl with Balloon is a 2002-started London series of stencil murals by the graffiti artist Banksy, depicting a young girl with her hand extended toward a red heart-shaped balloon carried away by the wind. The first work was on Waterloo Bridge, and other murals were around London, though none remain there.

Being a freelance artist who has made his artistic signature on many public and private places in the city, the 25 year-old observes, “Digitalized paintings open up new arenas to explore art and drawing. But performing 3D works using digital tools kills the originality. The feel and satisfaction that we receive by drawing with our own hands cannot be achieved in digitized canvas and tools.”

Pavi Sankar - streettrotter

“Why does life these days have to begin and end at the barrel of the gun? Let’s approach life as children would do it, full of innocence, love, peace, fun and camaraderie,” he adds. 

Pavi Sankar - streettrotter

Pavi’s landmark artwork in Kochi is best described as a graffiti in Kochi – where a soldier looks on somberly, as the girl extends a flower to him from the basket of flowers that she is carrying, reminding us of those iconic images of the ‘flower children,’ who offered flowers to armed soldiers as a reminder of peace – during demonstrations against the Vietnam War. To reinforce the point, more pink blooms are scattered on the ground amid and on top of menacing guns and grenades. This graffiti brought him more offers in movies for poster making.

However, Pavi is unhappy as the series had to be confined to only two paintings, one in Manaveeyam Veedhi and the other in Palarivattom, Kochi. On asking him the reason and he says, “People constantly compare our works with legendary artists. The ideas and works of new artists are not valued much. I don’t believe that art should be framed and kept inside the four walls or circulated only through social media. One should accept the revolution and modernization in art also. If nudity is depicted in the work it is tagged as obscene here.”Pavi Sankar - streettrotterHis next attempt is to work on photographs and mix them with art on a`Save Water’ campaign as he believes the water crisis will be the reason for the next World War. “Art is not stable, neither am I, we change according to the evolution of our thoughts,” he signs off.


About the author :  Navyata gali is a student of National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore. Since her very young age, she has been playing around visual communication as she believes everything has its own story and has its own characteristics. She was 15 years old when she made up a story where numbers had their own life! She did crack an interview by just talking to a pen as she believes that in real world marketing self is as important as hard work and consistency in life.