Friday, March 31, 2023 | Ramadan 8, 1444 H
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Brewing paintings out of coffee

“Coffee is a very malleable medium for making art. My work aims at channeling the child in me who was fascinated by this beverage,” says Dheeraj Gadicherla, coffee artist.

How about having your coffee and painting out of it. As a child he was forbidden to have coffee but the brew was to become his favourite pastime using it for painting.

Dheeraj Gadicherla, an engineer-cum-coffee artist, loves coffee and has come out with amazing works of art. He is perhaps the Sultanate of Oman’s only contemporary abstract artist who brews fresh paintings out of coffee.

His mother would reward good behaviour by tipping a sip of her coffee into his mug of milk once a while. The walls of his childhood home reveal a compelling story from the marks he made on them as he picked up the brush after a gap of 20 years.

After moving over to the Sultanate of Oman, he painted Khanjar, Sultan Qaboos Mosque, Al Alam Palace and others using coffee.

By drawing the traditional dagger he wanted to immortalise the works of art using the usual method. His work on Khanjar took over a week to complete owing to its intricate patterns and was made entirely using Omani coffee prepared from a very strong brew.

A laborious process though, he was satisfied and happy to put his all towards it.

Coffee brew excites him. Dheeraj does his work to fuel his travels which in turn has rewarded him with more inspiration to work with the beverage.

The Sultanate of Oman holds a special place in his heart as he pays homage to the country through a series of paintings. “The intricate details in the architectural sketches or the Khanjar are all captured with coffee alone.”

Explains Dheeraj, “It all began when I painted my friend’s likeness using coffee as the medium. I realised that this beverage that I consume is a very malleable medium for making art. Earth tones are often associated with vegetable dyes and other mineral extracts. The earthiness that coffee brings to paintings has been a revelation; there is a richness in tone and depth of colour that I find eternally fascinating. The manufacture of coffee has a long history - from brewing in different ways to experiment with ‘colours’ to seeing what exposure to the elements could bring to the material. My work aims at channeling the child in me who was fascinated by this beverage.”

On his first visit to the Sultanate of Oman, he was mesmerised by Sultan Qaboos Mosque which he terms as the most beautiful building he has ever seen. As usual, he wanted to paint the mosque but was unable to get to it for two years. The entrance to the mosque in his interpretation shows the many layers of Omani people, their kindness and acceptable nature. He liked to immortalise his experiences through his paintings.

He painted Al Alam Palace when he chanced upon the beautiful palace taking a picture on his first anniversary of moving to the Sultanate of Oman. He also did a portrait of an Omani woman to celebrate Omani Women’s Day.

Inspired by his trip to Istanbul, a very beautiful city to stroll, he imagines how an evening would look from the sea, when local fishermen are coming back with their catch.

Another image is the infamous Hagia Sophia mosque where he gave an abstract feel to capture its grandeur. During his trip to Paris he painted the rooftops using espresso from the local cafes as they are close knit and next to each other.

Presently, he is working on a set of 15 architectural paintings on the Sultanate of Oman which he plans to donate locally and help raise funds to support various projects for damages caused from Cyclone Shaheen.

Dheeraj (Instagram@Distractor) has showcased his works of art at several art exhibitions in India and abroad with coffee as the prime medium in the contemporary art scene.


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