Chandrasekhar Rao was born in a small village of Polasara in Ganjam district of Orissa. As a Handicraft Designer, Chandrasekhar created 4000 creative designs from the existing patterns of the tradition. His association with the traditional craftsmen of different trades brought him near to their crafts as well as life. Chandrasekhar Rao was trained in the Indian Painting (Shantiniketan style) from Government Art College at Khallikote and possibly worked under the best of Gurus those were available in Orissa. While learning the art of painting, he was much into depicting the mythical subject matters to start with and later moved on into unexplored areas of human life, nature and their relationships.
Looking back at Chandrasekhar’s life, he seems to be comfortable with the immediate village environment and its habitants, and they are his chief protagonists through out, whether it is a rendering of Gita Govinda or Krishnalila; Village pond or a portrait or any subject matter for that matter. I am privileged to be with him, observing him closely, in life and on work. Every bit of experience is artistic; as he explains, ‘if you want to exaggerate a curve in a figure, just try it yourself to a maximum stretch and never beyond because bending, twisting, stretching or any thing of similar type should not affect the rhythm of the form, and it applies to a smile, yes’. One of the characters of his painting is line and one can see the beauty of an comprehensive line from one end of the tassar canvas to the other, breaking free- one rhythm, one stop respiration and the form emerges from it with tremendous force and energy - a real unique signature.
Colours and compositions were derived from Orissa and its several art forms. His introduction to the handicrafts, as being the Designer, helped him to acquire more knowledge and he transformed the cultural forms in contemporary art equally intelligently. Many artists, we have seen searching for the title after the composition and its validity, but Chandrasekhar always knew what he was doing. He never painted the elements or composed; he rather lived, enjoyed and interacted with the forms in the painting, making it a part of the entire scheme. Precisely, he was one of those painted characters who lived out of the canvas, with us and his family.
Many artists, toward the last phase of his life, started to criticise his work as a standard (as in ISI) falling short of understanding his ideas and creativity. Some have started to imitate him for livelihood and saleability even after knowing that his works cannot be replicated, but Chandrasekhar Rao was the one who lived above these petty state of affairs during his life, and will always remain out of reach of such traumatic human behaviour. He was with us all till 2004.
Chandrasekhar Rao’s achievements include, besides being the Handicraft Designer, an art teacher (for children too), the Chairmanship of Working Artists Association of Orissa. He has received Awards by State Lalit Kala for four times; Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta; AIFACS, New Delhi; Bombay Art Society, Bombay; SCZCC, Nagpur; and many more. He has exhibited in Museum of Fine Arts, Chandigarh; Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendra, Bhubaneswar; Bajaj Art Gallery and Jehangir Art Gallery Bombay; Crimson, Bangalore; Birla Academy of Art, Kolkata and many more.
This special collection has came directly from his son Sri Tarakeswar Rao, collected and available at Ashok Art Gallery.