Ashok Kumar Gopalan


As an artist, I draw my energy from my specific locale. I get inspired from the spectrum of social ambience, flora and fauna, local philosophy, rustic wisdom, cuisine, social criticism bordering on a strident sarcasm. Kerala’s regionalism, dialects, extinct species, geographical peculiarities, profound anxieties and deep sighs, all these determine the trajectory of my work. A complex linear interplay of this phantasmagoria provide the ideal sounding board for my art to take off in its projection and journey towards globalization. Voyeurism is the leitmotif here, as I visualize the images through multiple angles that constitute the very essence of my visual academics.

After my sojourn at Bangalore, l currently practice art in a rural hamlet of northern Kerala. All tensions and dissonances characteristic of the city find their resonance in rural spaces as well through mute wars and a suppressed violence.

View Ashok Kumar Gopalan’s Work

Story, Outlook & Inspiration

To be frank and humble I am aware of the crass hypocrisy of the modern individual or subject with all its attendant paraphernalia has been the leitmotif of my creative process. Towards realising this, I have resorted to the universal decorative motifs to give a shape and credo to this ‘self-deception’ which is pervasive in its reach and whose cumulative effect does impact our socio-political structures in a big way. The contemporary mainstream is subjected to a consistent interrogation towards constructing new paradigms in order to produce alternative, parallel discourses.

Born in a rural hamlet of Kerala, the southern most Indian state, I have been pursuing art professionally for the past 18 years. Over these years, I have been trying to fine-tune my modes of expression through experience, observation and execution. The landscapesof the mind with its essential reflections of the outside world have carved out a new idiom in the totality of my artistic oeuvre, throwing up fresh challenges and avenues to explore their alternatives vis-a-vis modernity. The pursuit of the global subject from the local platform has been a defining characteristic trait of my professional profile which involves continuous dialogue between the contesting spaces of the past and the present; the interface of which has invariably lent refreshingly new and quality perspectives to my art.

My staple objective has always been to expand the boundaries of expression, in the process to explore new heights of the medium, thereby setting new standards in terms of form and content. This endeavour is at once a challenge and an opportunity as it throws up quite a few possibilities for the artist to embrace or repudiate, whose omissions and commissions leave a profound impact on her/his trajectory. The plethora of images culled from both the print and the visual media lend themselves in an incessant fashion toward the manipulation of frames which go a long way in a symbiotic fusion of the inner and outer domains of my creative journey.

Throughout my artistic odyssey, I have tried to explore the nuances of voyeurism and narcissism. I have always endeavoured to see through the motifs which in my view have lent an X-ray effect to my work. The space configuration is made complex for the sake of visual effect enhancement. The surrealist imagery in my work can be traced back to their roots in the Indian and Oriental mythologies. I have attempted to juxtapose it with a parallel movement through the explosion of images which is a characteristic trait of modern times. In fact they render my work a unique dimension supplementing each other.

The result is a new visual idiom which is at once local and global. I am tempted to say such an idiom makes my work both traditional and contemporary. The past finds its echoes in the present whilst the present is amplified and reinforced by the past. They are no longer dichotomies that cancel each other, instead coexist in a mutually complementing fashion thereby deconstructing the conventional binaries.

Ashok Kumar Gopalan.



  • Graduation in Painting, Govt. R RCFA. Mavelikara, Kerala. 1998
  • Post Graduate in Graphic Art (M.F.A), Kala-Bhavana, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal. 2001

Present Status: Professional Artist based on Kerala, India.


  • Jackson Pollock-Krasner Foundation Inc. Award, New York. 2008
  • State Award by the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, Thrissur. 2007
  • State Award by All India Fine Arts & Craft Society, New Delhi. 2003
  • Honourable Mention, Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi, Thrissur. 2002
  • Special Mention by Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi, Thrissur. 2000
  • Raja Ravi Varma Honourable Mention (Raja Ravi Varma Cultural Society, Kilimanoor) 1999
  • Raja Ravi Varma, Honourable Mention (Raja Ravi Varma Cultural Society, Kilimanoor) 1997


Solo Exhibition

  • “Accidentally on Purpose” at Kashi Art Gallery, Kochi. 2009
  • Exhibition of Lithographs at Kashi Art Café, Kochi 2006
  • Solo exhibition, presented by Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi at Hosur, Tamil Nadu. 2001

Group Exhibitions

  • 2016: ‘Fragmented Translation’ Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi.
  • 2016: 45th Annual Show by KLK akademi at DH, Kochi.
  • 2016: ‘unveiling of the VR green art car project’ in collaboration with Artchutney, Bangalore.
  • 2016: ‘invisible realities’ Artvillecafe, Bangalore
  • 2016: Alert Not Alarm, Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi.
  • 2015: Suvarnam – Mammen Mapila Hall, Kottayam.
  • 2015: Sangamam – RRCFA, Mavelikara, Alappuzha.
  • 2015: Clipboard – Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi.
  • 2015: Annual Show, KLK Akademi, Durbar hall, Eranakulam.
  • 2014: Uroob Smarana, Sahithyakala Akademi, Thrissur.
  • 2014: The Print Maker’s in South India, Art houz Gallery, Chennai and Bangalore.
  • 2014: Annual Show, KLK Akademi, Durbar hall, Eranakulam.
  • 2014: Group show, Barat Bhawan, Bhopal
  • 2014: Lithography Show, David Hall, Kochi organized by Central LKA.
  • 2013: Group Show, Regional Centre, Garhi, New Delhi.
  • 2013: Annual State Exhibition, KLK Akademi, Kochi.
  • 2012: Resurgence-2012, VAM Art Inc, Gallery, New Jersey, USA.
  • 2011: Curated by Abhishek Poddar,Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore.
  • 2011: Art Fair, UB City, Art Ville Gallery, Bangalore.
  • 2010: Individual Voices, Art Ville Gallery, Bangalore.
  • 2010: EVIDENTIA, Gallery Sumukha, Chennai.
  • 2009: EVIDENTIA, Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore.
  • 2008: Tracing erasures, Durbar Hall at Kochi.
  • 2007: ‘3’ dimensions, Karnataka Chitra Kala Parishath , Bangalore.
  • 1996 to 2007: Annual State Exhibition, Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi.
  • 2006: The wonder that was India, Group show, Tyler Art gallery, Philadelphia.
  • 2001: Birla Academy Annual Exhibition, Kolkatta.
  • 1999: India Japan Exchange Exhibition of Prints, Saga Art College, Japan.
  • 2000: Award Winners Exhibition, Kozhikodu conducted by KLK Akademi .
  • 1998: South Indian Rank Holders Exhibition (best of 98), Chennai.


  • 2016 ‘Prayanam’ Painting camp at poomala, by KLK Akademi.
  • 2016 Adoor painting camp, by KLK Akademi.
  • 2015 ‘Sangamam’ at RRCFA, Mavelikara, by KLK Akademi.
  • 2014 Uroob Smarana Camp KLK Akademi & Sahithyakala Akademi, Thrissur.
  • 2014 National Lithography Camp at Bharat Bhawan, Bhopal.
  • 2013 National Lithography Camp, Garhi, New Delhi organized by CLK Akademi, Reagional Centre, New Delhi.
  • 2013 Painters Camp at KILA, collaborated by KLK Akademi & South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjore.
  • 2013 Etching Camp at CFA, collaborated by KLK Akademi & CLK Akademi, Regional Centre, Chennai.
  • 2007 National Art Festival at Manipal University,Udupi,Organized by Central Lalit Kala Akademi, Regional Centre,Chennai.
  • 2007 National Painters camp – Swaswara – Gokarna , Karnataka, organized by Kerala Lalithakala Akademi.
  • 1995 Stone Carving Camp, Mavelikara, conducted by Sri. Hiroshi Mikami, Japan.


  • 1999-2000 Merit scholarship, Kala Bhavana,Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan,West Bengal.
  • 1999-2000 Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi Scholarship