From builder to painter: Expressing changes in life and universe through art.

 |Oct 13, 2016
Muguntha ... from a builder to a painter.
Muguntha … from a builder to a painter.

P. Muguntha went through a life changing experience five years ago.

The architect who designed the landmark MCIS building in Petaling Jaya and worked on government buildings in Mauritius and Seychelles found a new calling – art.

“At that time I was undergoing treatment for cancer. I had to go through radiotherapy and chemotherapy. That’s when I felt a change in myself,” he said.

Muguntha describes the change as a build-up of “high intense energy” inside him.

“I felt this energy bursting out of me and I found that I could express this overflow of energy effectively through art, through my paintings,” he said, adding that at one time he even surprised himself by working on an entire oil painting on canvas with just one matchstick.

“I felt that burst of energy at the hospital I was being treated in, and decided to use the matchstick I had in hand as a tool to express what I felt on canvas,” said Muguntha, adding that this painting now hangs in the office of the doctor who treated him.

Most of his paintings have unique characteristics and display variation, flexibility, fluidity and motion.

It offers an observer a different perspective each time he or she looks at it.

Muguntha does not sign-off on the canvas as he wants that element of flexibility to be available to those who view his work.

“My paintings can be rotated and hung anyway you like it,” said Muguntha, who says that as the painter, he himself sees his paintings in a different light each time he looks at it.

Having studied architecture at the Indian Institute of Technology in India, he acknowledges that his architectural profession and knowledge does play a part in his art.

After my treatment was over, I felt like I was renewed and reborn, just like the cells in my body, said Muguntha. adding that he felt this strong urge to create art instead of architecture.

“Architecture is rigid but it does involve the study of different fields and elements including climate, movement of the sun, sound waves, human psychology, water movement and security among others,” he said adding that art was one aspect of architectural study.

Muguntha’ favourite artist is Picasso and has always been fascinated by his style especially ‘Cubism’.

Though art was a part of what he studied in architecture, Muguntha said he had never tapped into it till now.

While being treated at the hospital, there was a day when he felt that strong burst of energy and used the only tool available to him – a matchstick to create a painting.

“That piece now hangs in my doctor’s office,” said Muguntha, who also studies Astrology and Vastu Sastra.

Muguntha's art creations.
Muguntha’s art creations.

Some of his paintings were images of what he saw when he was deep meditation.

Astrology has to do with the constant movement of the planet and Vastu Sastra means living with nature, and according to Muguntha, that was what one would see in his paintings, the constant movement of the universe and elements of nature.

“Life changes and so does the universe. You may have been sitting in that same spot for the last 10 minutes, but you aren’t actually in the same spot anymore, because the earth rotates and therefore you have actually moved.

“You will notice that the theme of my paintings is centred on brightness, nature, meditation, friendship and basically a journey into the universe,” said Muguntha, adding that he had sold a few of his paintings.

Though there had been interest in his work, he has not thought about selling the pieces he currently holds.

“I have about 50 pieces as a personal collection, but I may consider selling these if the price is right,” Muguntha said, admitting that he would find it hard to part with some.

“I find that there is not much of an art movement or appreciation here currently,” he said, adding that there was too much fixation on money making.

“Our society has not reached the level of an art revolution, they have not learnt to appreciate artistic work and to think out of the box,” said Muguntha, adding that this was one reason he admired Picasso.

To him, Picasso was forward thinking and not afraid to challenge society’s norms through his work.

Muguntha is open to request to view his artworks, most of which are on display at the Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry premises 116/203, Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, Brickfields.

He can be contacted at 012-572 7665.

Maria Angela is a Malaysia Outlook contributor with about 15 years of experience as a journalist. She developed her passion for arts, culture, history and heritage while on the local council beat when she discovered not much emphasis was placed on preserving our past for the benefit of future generations.