Venugopal VG: Chasing the golden deer

As an observer of urbanisation, the artist often plots on canvas the mythical ‘Maya Mruga’ as a metaphor for people’s dreams of materialistic possessions

Having migrated from a small town in the southern tip of Karnataka to Mysore and Bangalore to study and work, Venugopal remains a quintessential outsider. He stays as an observer and is critical about the growth of consumerism and urbanisation that is sweeping the landscape. He appears as a cameo in many of his works as a witness, standing in the midst but not belonging totally.

The golden deer seen in some of his works, like the mythical Maya Mruga, a magical animal chased by Rama because Sita wanted it, becomes a metaphor for the dreams being chased by urban dwellers: of acquiring a television, furniture, car, house and going on vacations. But these dreams are also fed by the digital TV dish and the magical world it opens up in the midst of the house. The people who are aspiring for such colorful dreams are themselves hovering around the vortex like lifeless ghosts, as if without these materialistic gains, they are nothing.

The images are not one of 'arrival' but a constant 'journey' and struggle to 'reach' somewhere. There is repeated suggestion of people and opportunities migrating and unseen hands controlling such movements. This idea also comes through in the visual artist’s video art. The images from his childhood, when they do appear, seem more real and solid than the surreal city with all its glitz and glamour.

Venugopal VG studied art in Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA), Mysore, and Chitrakala Institute of Advanced Studies, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore. He has had solo shows in Bangalore and Chennai. He has also participated in many curated shows in India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Italy, the United States and Japan. He has received awards from the Karnataka Lalithkala Academy and ‘Magmart – VII’ International Video Art Festival, Naples, Italy. He lives and works in Bangalore.

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