Iconic Illustrator Artist Namboothiri Passes Away in Kottakkal, Kerala

Iconic Illustrator Artist Namboothiri Passes Away in Kottakkal, Kerala

Kottakal - Renowned illustrator K M Vasudevan Namboothiri, fondly known as Artist Namboothiri, who brought to life numerous mythical characters in Malayalam literature through his iconic illustrations, has passed away in Kottakkal, Malappuram district, in the early hours of Friday.

The 97-year-old artist, known for his unique three-dimensional sketches that inspired a golden era of painting and sculpture in Kerala, had been undergoing treatment for age-related ailments at a private hospital in Kottakkal. He breathed his last at 12:21 am on Friday.

Born on September 13, 1925, to Parameswaran Namboothiri and Sridevi Antharjanam of Karuvattu Illam in Ponnani, Artist Namboothiri displayed his artistic talent from a young age, drawing line sketches of characters he encountered in his village using charcoal pieces on the walls of his house.

During his childhood, he also received lessons in Sanskrit and traditional Ayurveda medicine.

Famous artist Varikkasseri Krishnan Namboothiri recognized his talent and took him to the Madras College of Fine Arts, where he honed his skills under the guidance of legends like KCS Panikker. Namboothiri had the privilege of giving visual form to the epic characters created by renowned writers such as M T Vasudevan Nair and V K Narayanankutty Nair (VKN).

Namboothiri's powerful line sketches played a significant role in capturing the essence of Kerala's rustic life. As a versatile sculptor, he worked with various media including wood, metal, stone, cement, and clay. His illustrations breathed life into numerous characters from stories and novels serialized in literary magazines such as Samakalika Malayalam, Kala Kaumudi, and Mathrubhumi.

His illustrations for Sankaracharya's Soundarya Lahari, created at the request of actor Mohanlal, garnered much praise. Namboothiri also served as the art director for acclaimed director Aravindan's films, including Utharayanam and Kanchana Seetha.

Throughout his career, he received several accolades, including the Raja Ravi Varma Award from the Kerala Lalita Kala Akademi and the State Institute of Children's Literature Award. He is survived by his wife Mrinalini and sons Parameswaran and Vasudevan.

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