Divine Portraiture by Manivelu A., Gorrick D.V., Reddy S., and Verma M., [JAN 2018 – JAN 2019]

MOSA is happy to present this amazing show called Divine Portraiture consisting of 4 artists who in different ways paint Divine images. Three of them come from South India and one even though born in America studied traditional arts in South India at Mahabalipuram. Devas, Deities and Avatars are painted in different ways but always with great Devotion. The approach is traditional yet it shows a very contemporary nature. As if tradition is not only something of the past but very much something of the present. Manivelu, Verma, Reddy and Gorrick are working in different medium and styles yet they all achieve similar results of bringing to life Divine features: faces, bodies, arms, legs, hands etc. They also achieve to bring out devotion in those who observe their works. Their works are perfect for worship and could be placed in altars or important parts of the house. I am sure that both devotees and visitors will cherish the devotional mood that this group of powerful spiritual images create when hanging in the main gallery of MOSA. May they help uplift our consciousness and connect us with the Divine.

Martin Gurvich

Director Museum of Sacred Art – MOSA


Born in 1941 at Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, Manivelu A. is also known as Manivel, learnt art as a child from his father S.N.Arumuga Achari, a temple builder, and muralist who also made processional chariots and iconic statues. The young boy acquired the nuances of Silpa Sasthram and creating iconic imagery while assisting his father. Later, it was M.S. Kumaraswamy, chief artist for a Tamil monthly magazine, who taught him skills to draw and paint godly figures and to illustrate religious epics. Working with religious publications helped refine his technique further. Manivelu is known for his fine and detailed paintings of gods, goddesses and various deities that hang in many South Indian homes. Working on handmade paper stuck onto cardboard, he sits and meditates before the idols in temples before starting to draw. Initial drawings and sketches are then developed into paintings. The icons and narratives are depicted exactly as in the originals, complete with all their features, ornamentations and attributes. The artist has worked with Hinduism Today, an international magazine, for several years and later with Tamil astrology magazine Bala Jodhidam. He has also worked on the illustrations for The Picture Book Ramayana, edited by H. Daniel Smith and published by Syracuse University, New York. His work is part of several private and temple collections, besides galleries in Los Angeles and Hawaii. The artist lives with his extended family in Chennai and works from his studio at home.

Born in 1982 in West Virginia, USA Drdha Vrata Gorrick received his early education at home from his mother and later joined the local art college to learn drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Equally inspired by old European master’s work and ISKCON artists he travelled to India and studied traditional Indian arts from masters of various crafts first at Vrindavan and then in South India for five years. In addition to training in drawing, painting, lost-wax casting and clay modelling, he also learnt Kerala mural painting, Tibetan Thangka painting and Orissan pattachitra palm leaf etching. The multifarious skills have helped him master iconography, sculpture, architectural design and management of art projects. Combining religious styles from different parts of India within a Vedic tradition, his devotional art appears in finely executed varied forms, simultaneously soulful and aesthetically delightful. Drdha takes much of his inspiration from the timeless art and architecture that he has experienced during his 15 years of study and travels around India. His commissions range from drawings, paintings and sculptures for homes and temples to managing devotional construction projects such as the temple of Simantini Devi (Parvati) at Mayapur, West Bengal. The artist is currently assisting the Museum of Sacred Art in Radhadesh, Belgium, while his extra time is spent working on his art. www.divyakala.com

Born in 1985 in Karnataka, Srinivasa Reddy N. received his Diploma in painting from Government Drawing College at Tumkur and Postgraduate Diploma from Bangalore University. His dense drawings and sketches in pencil on paper, feature iconic oriental imagery. They include LordVishnu,
Lakshmi, Madhava and other gods and goddesses as well as temples and scenes from the epics. The compositions, in black and white with shades of grey, add to the beauty and appeal of the imagery. Recipient of Lalit Kala Akademi research grant, Arnawaz Vasudev Charities Scholarship, Chandra lanogo Art Foundation and Southern Region Camel Art Foundation Professional Award, Srinivasa has most recently been conferred the Lalit Kala Akademi’s National award. His work has featured in exhibitions held at Bangalore, Chennai, Raichur, Delhi, Mysore and other Indian cities. It has found its way into private collections in India and abroad. The artist lives and works in Bangalore

Born in 1973 in Bilaspur, Bihar, Manish Verma did his graduation in painting from the College of Arts and Crafts, Patna University, with academic excellence awards for all three years that he was there. Using simple lines, textures and patterns he creates stylised human figures. The central focus
for much of his painterly outpouring on canvases is the story and message of the timeless divine figure of Buddha. The impact of the frequent visits he made in his teens to Bodh- Gaya neighboring his home, are replayed in various series that trace the legend of Buddha—first as a Prince, then his
penance and finally the Nirvana. There is recurring appearance of the tranquil portrait and reference to the Jataka stories too. He works in oil and acrylic as well as wash technique, and has also executed several large-scale mural panels for various public and private bodies. A State Lalit Kala Akademi Award winner Manish is also a recipient of Bihar State Shilpi Sangh Painting Exhibition Award, and his work has been part of many workshops and exhibitions all over India.