The paintings are based on myths and stories that ritual performance artists from my native village and other communties told me during a field study i did among indigenous communities in Kerala, (1990 - ‘91). They are expressions of the deep-rooted ecological consciousness of the subaltern people.
(These paintings are reproduced in the form of a calendar by Visthar for the year 1992). 
A Hymn to Fertility
Thrive, thrive, thrive Oh, God
Thrive thrive thrive, Oh, God
As of yore, Thrive, Oh, Boiling Rice
Thrive. Oh, Lamps, lighted and installed
Thrive, Oh, Village, thrive Oh, Universe
Thrive, Oh, Land,  Thrive, Oh, City
Thrive, Oh, lone roof in the village
Thrive, Oh, roof, Thrive, Oh, threshold
Thrive, Oh, Saraswathi with thy four-fold streams. 
(This prayer is addressed to the Earth Mother, popular among the Dalits. In the words of Dalit youth, “Tragically, Modern culture has replaced the ‘womb’ with machine”).
Tree as the abode of Mother Goddess
She was recognised by a Paraya, when she came down to the plains from the hill. He honoured her by holding a palm-leaf umbrella over her, as no roof could be provided. She had refused to sit under any man-made roof desiring to live on trees, exposed to mist, and rain and sun and wind, for the reason that she was herself the tree.
Trees are respected and worshipped in most ancient civilisations. They are considered to be the abode of the Mother Goddess. Stories of bleeding trees or speaking trees are still popular. They are living icons and are the mediators between the animate and the inanimate.
“Believers who go about rioting and killing one another in the name of building temples and mosques”, said a socially conscious tribal. “Show little reverence for life. If the deities were believed to dwell in trees, nature would truly be our home. No amount of money can build a tree. One has to wait for the seed to sprout. It takes fifty to hundred years for a small tree to come into being. For a big one you have to wait for thirty generations or more".
C.F.John
 Kandanan Kelan
It was a time when Chovar, landlords, were encroaching on forest for cultivation. In consequence, Dalits were losing their forest and homes and were becoming labourers of chovars. A ‘Chovar’ asked ‘Kelan’, a labourer, to set fire to an area of forest and clear up the land for cultivation. Kelan lit five fires, in the east, west, south, north and center of the forest, in that order. As the fires surrounded him from all the four sides, kelan found no way out.
Panic stricken, he clambered upon a beautiful grown tree nearby, ‘Karinelli’ by name. Like Kelan, two frightened snakes too, Kaliyan and Kandanan, had taken refuge on the tree.  Angered, they bit kelan and on both sides of the his chest.
Just then, Kulavan, leader of the thiyya community, happened to pass by. He aw Kelan and the two snakes lying dead, burned up along with the forest.
C.F.John
Immanence of All in All
Human, earth, trees, hills, air, fire, space and water, things animate and inanimate, all go to make up the one body of Kolaswaroopnini Thayi, the Universal Mother Goddess.  She manifests herself in forms many and varied. No one form is better than any. Every form flows into and merges with every other form
Hence the need to see beyond the logic of rational perceptions and ralise the reciprocal immanence of all things, where fire emerges from the water and water from rock and offerings made one the hilltop reach the far away ocean.
C.F.John
Malavazhi, the hill mother.

Once Malavazhi came down to the plains and approached the goldsmiths, bamboo weavers, blacksmiths, weavers, and potters to get something to wear. She did this so that all could recognize her and do her homage. But everyone refused to give.
After she left, the people of that area were struck by a famine. Panicked, they went to a healer who told them the famine was caused by Malavazhi, the queen of the Hill, also known as Godavari, the sacred cow that suckles the Earth. They repented and each made something for Malavazhi to wear. They went to find her and found her collecting the grains left in the field after the harvest. There they gave her the raiment they had brought. She put it on and danced, sickle in hand. At the end of the dance she gave them the paddy husk as prasadam to eat, in order to teach them they shouldn’t waste even a single grain produced by Mother Earth, even in periods of abundance.

For these communities, the abundance of the earth was not perceived as the production of wealth. Instead it was the celebration of life.
Today, by contrast, what we have is wealth, and a market that grows on wasting.
C.F.John

Pulayan Pottam
Once a ‘Chovar’ found a baby boy in his field. Feeling pity, he asked a pulaya woman working in his field to take care of the child. The child often sat near the hearth while the woman roasted paddy, and murmured. “We should recover this land from the Chovar. It belongs to us”. The woman thought the boy was possessed by some evil spirit. So she asked her master to have him treated. Suspecting the boy was not an ordinary one and boded ill for him, the Chovar asked the woman to send him away to the forest for grazing cattle, hoping he would be killed by wild animals. But no animal dared touch him.
Months later, one day while returning from the forest with cattle, the boy came across the Chovar, finding the boy not giving way and thus showing respect to him, the chovar asked in anger, “How dare you not give the way”?
The boy answered, “The blood that oozes out of either of us, when cut is the same. We reach yonder shore whether you row the boat or I. Tell me, Chovar, what then is the difference between us”?
C.F.John
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