SANTANARAJ A P: Born 1932,
Studied at the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai, and went on to teach at the same Institute to be the Principal from 1985-1990.
One of the most defining aspect of AP Santhanaraj's works would be the quality of line. It is this fundamental element, which sets apart the artists style. He uses this element without any inhibitions exploring it endlessly and creating a unique visual language. As the artist says " I am hungry about painting. What comes out of it, I don't know. All my intentions are not to accept a preconceived form. Circumstances force me to accept a particular form.”
It is also interesting to note that the artist while painting discards the accepted mode of placing the canvas vertically in front but lays it out flat on the ground and works on it from all angles. The work process also gives inkling to the artist's unconventional, un-inhibited thinking process. The same tendency is also reflected in the manner which Santhanaraj handles color which is the other source of inspiration. Color not with its emotive quality but rather the atmosphere it exudes. The artist in his paintings exploits the most fundamental elements to express his thoughts.
Recipient of several awards, including the National Award in 1957, the Kala Ratna in 1997, and the Kalimamani Shiromani award in 1996. Retrospectives of his work were held in Delhi in 1990 and 2001. Has executed portraits for Parliament House, New Delhi, and murals for the Madras State Museum.
The artist now lives and works in Chennai.