CN Karunakaran, the celebrated painter form Kerala belongs to the group of artists who ushered in modernity to Independent India. Born in 1940 in Kerala in Brahmakulam, a laidback hamlet, Karunakaran grew up in a peaceful home as the youngest in the family. During the pre-independence days in rural Kerala, the boy’s horizon was bound by his village limits. But he used to collect British magazine covers with beautiful landscapes, which he loved to copy. That was his initiation into training in art. He copied the image of Asoka Pillar while in the 3rd standard which fetched him recognition in school. His first published work was the painting of water lilies that appeared on the cover of a Malayalam magazine. The child artist emerged with promise.
The recently launched book ‘MYTHIC IMAGINATION: ART OF C.N. KARUNAKARAN’ edited by Satyapal is a testimony to the singularity of his fine art. Quite handy, chronologically edited, the book is a visual odyssey through the 6 decades of his painting that traces the development of his art like a graph. The fine looking layout enhances the book like a work of art. His oeuvre is the transmutation of the eternal into a visual language with Indian sensibility. He has carved a niche for himself with his unique signature in visual arts. The book published in English language brings the artist to the national mainstream. The book is not just a collection of his works but a peep into the making of the artist and an assessment of his creative world by eminent writers in the field of art.