The Artist FromSingapore: Latha Menon Jayaram
Latha Menon Jayaram is a full-time artist based in the sunny island of Singapore, where she moved into 13 years ago. Hailing from Changanacherry in Kottayam district of Kerala, Latha has created some exceptional pieces of art. Before settling down as an artist, she has dabbled in numerous careers including being an entrepreneur, fashion designer, art teacher and a Montessori teacher.
Latha was born and raised in the serene town of Pathanadu in Changanacherry, to parents who were both renowned school teachers. The serenity and tranquillity of her hometown has inspired her work in many ways. Latha inherited her artistic inclinations from her mother, who too was an artist. Ever since she was a child, Latha has excelled and outperformed in many drawing and painting competitions in school and community programmes. Largely fond of travelling, Latha draws her inspiration from vibrant colors, nature and eco-friendly components. Filled with enthusiasm in her eyes, this high-flyer with multi-faceted personality shares her experience with KTE in a rendezvous with Bharaty Menon.
Tell us about your interest in Art & Painting and how it grew
Since the time I was young I have been inclined to the art of drawing and painting. I have won severa accolades in the same field. This naturally came from my mother who was an Art teacher and a prodigy of her own. And although I am yet to match her standard of work, my talent is clearly a gift I received from her. I have an academic qualification in Maths and Science. My heart and passion has always dwelled within the arts. This induced me to pursue a yearlong study in Western Arts at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) Singapore. I strongly believe that any form of talent will have to be nurtured and mastered to near perfection. I too led the same path, and with genuine passion, strong foundation and emotional support, the artist in me came to the fore.
What kind of paintings have you done?
I have worked on Acrylic, Water colour, Fabric painting, Oil painting, and Charcoal. My favourite medium is Acrylic on Canvas. With keen interest in recycling, I have developed some products by opting for the unconventional way of design manipulation. For instance, there was a time where I made earrings out of Areca palm nut. My colour palette consists of vibrant and vivid colours. I believe my work portrays excitement from its colours and tranquillity from its method of composition.
What are your favourite subjects or themes?
I would say , I do not follow a particular theme, but seldom prefer to pick subjects that spark the mood of joy and happiness in the minds of people. There is no focus to stick to a particular theme or subject. I tend to stress to create an extremely different theme with each exhibition I participate in. But then, one thing anyone would notice in my paintings is that they are peppered with vibrant colours which naturally draws attention.
I tend to stress to create an extremely different theme with each exhibition I participate in. But then, one thing anyone would notice in my paintings is that they are peppered with vibrant colours which naturally draws attention.
Do you have a dream project in your mind?
I have always wanted to showcase several mediums and methods of art such as fabric painting, embroidery, acrylic, water colour, oil painting, appliqué work, as one collection. My dream project would be to conduct a solo exhibition showcasing an array of such pieces.
How many exhibitions have you participated in?
I have exhibited at the Singapore Artscape exhibition and am an annual participant of the Varnam art exhibition conducted by the Singapore Malayali Association. In March 2019, I exhibited a few of my paintings at Indriyam Art Gallery, Kochi, that featured 10 artists for 10 days in 10 shows.
Do you conduct classes to teach art?
I conduct art workshops in Singapore facilitating various methods of painting. I have previously conducted art classes in Chennai where I had a boutique. I strongly believe in sharing and spreading any form of knowledge, for knowledge shared is knowledge gained.
Who have been the biggest influences in your life?
Without any doubt my mentor has been my mother who was an art teacher. Since I was the daughter of an artist, right from my childhood, I have been taught the different methods of painting. This further led me to opportunities in numerous competitions and events. My childhood played a key role in moulding me to what I am today.
Tell us about your family?
My biggest pillar of support in both my artistic and personal journey has been my husband Jayaram Nair. Jayaram runs his own logistics firm in Singapore. I have two children, my elder daughter, is a Fashion Buyer for a leading fashion e-commerce firm in Middle East; she resides with her husband in Dubai. My younger son is an engineering student in electrical and mirco-electronics at Nanyang Technological University Singapore.
Since KTE is primarily a travel maga - zine, we would like to know which are your favourite travel destinations in Kerala?
Being an ardent nature-lover, my heart resides in Kerala. The dark moist forests, tall primeval trees, curiously moist snow, incredibly beautiful and wild creeks, and mythical birds of Munnar and Thekkady definitely are my favourite destinations. I would definitely recommend anyone to spend a small part of their annual break here as it serves as a detox from the busy city life.
Having moved out of India post my marriage, finding time to discover my home- state appeared to be rather challenging. However, with children having grown up, I have more time in hand, I am now determined to see, hear, smell , taste and discover every possible element of God’s own country.
What do you think needs to be done to promote Kerala’s tourism potential further?
I feel we would need to focus on promoting safety and cleanliness within the state. People fly down to Kerala from all over the world, they cherish what they see in Kerala, and they will not find it elsewhere. Hence we need to strive to make our state more safe and clean, and with a little help from the government, I feel this is easily attainable.
I have noticed that several palaces and places of cultural or historic importance have not been well preserved. Considering the millennium in which these precious monuments were constituted, they have to be provided special maintenance and support.
Kerala’s tourism potential remains largely untapped. Do you have any suggestions to boost its promotion?
I have noticed that several palaces and places of cultural or historic importance have not been well preserved. Considering the millennium in which these precious monuments were constituted, they have to be provided special maintenance and support. Whereas, there are several private resorts that are very well maintained. If these private properties were to initiate steps to keep the surrounding areas outside the resort also clean, and help maintain these places of historic importance, then the whole place would be well kept.
Mother Nature has blessed Kerala with abundant beauty and radiance. We ought to take good care of the state so that the world can experience Kerala in its purest form.