Barkur Parameshwara Bairi, the well known artist, and an expert on Rangoli, was popularly known as B P Bairi. He was born on November 16, 1912 in Barkur. He had his primary education in Hanehalli Elementary School set up by his father in Barkur. After finishing his eighth standard, he began his career as a teacher in the same school at a very young age. Side by side, he completed his SSLC and pre-university exams. Being interested in art, from his childhood, Bairi used to draw sketches of the various things he saw around them, children’s games, and lifestyles of various professionals. He desired to continue his career as an artist, and sought the guidance of Srinivasaraya in Udupi and Pavanje Gopalakrishna in Mangalore in order to get better knowledge in drawing. After this, he did lot of self-study and appeared for the art exams and got his diploma certificate from the then Madras University. He served as an art teacher in Mulki, Kundapur and Udupi board high schools for 44 years till his retirement. He trained art students at the Udupi Board High School to become good artists.
Bairi was skilled in painting personality portraits. He used to study about each personality he intended to paint, and using his imagination, he used to bring out his creativity. He has painted portraits of Pampa, Ratnakaravarni, Sarvajna, Kanakadasa, Kumaravyasa, Purandaradasa, and many more. Along with his teaching career, he pursued painting portraits, oil paintings, which have been preserved in various houses and organizations.
Besides all these, he showed a lot of passion towards Rangoli, the ethnic and religious art form of India. Right from his childhood, he had the habit of collecting Rangoli designs from neighbourhood bhajana mandalis and households, and studying them in depth. In his retired career, he was engaged in creating new Rangoli designs. In the pen names of Chitrakutira, Chitrajeevi, Chitrapremi, he had contributed Rangoli designs to periodicals like ‘Sudha’, ‘Taranga’, ‘Sugunamala’, ‘Karmaveera’ and others.
He also published design books in 12 series to popularize Rangoli in the pen name of ‘Chitrakutira’. He also published a book ‘Bharatiya samskratiyalli rangavalli’ (Rangoli in Indian culture), which contains many articles on the topic. To impart advanced training about art to the interested, he has written and published more than 15 books on Indian art, modern art, children’s art, and stories of artists.
Many social organizations felicitated him recognizing his contribution in the field of art. Prominent among them are the Lalitkala Academy Award, Karnatka Chitrakala Parishat Award, award for jaagtika kale, Rajya kala Shikshaka award and many more during his lifetime. He set an example by remaining an artist throughout his life and also showed that art could be one’s profession, and could also earn fame. On August 16, 1996, he passed away at ‘Chitrakutira’, the house, which he had built to promote art. His contribution and dedication in the field of art are immemorable.
Prof. Balakrishna Bairi B. M.sc.
S/o B. P. Bairi
Chitra Kutira, Udupi – 576 101
Phone: +91 820 2531102
For Rangoli Books contact
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No, 45, 46, MVM Castello, Dr T.C.M. Royan Road,
Banglore – 560053
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