Babu Xavier is a self-made artist who rejected a conventional academic art education to identify and establish a creative space of his own. Believing that his inspirations and methods would be restrained by a formal schooling in fine arts, he chose instead to work under the guidance of the esteemed painter Jayapal Panicker. Perhaps it was this decision to keep away from an academic training that enabled the artist to approach art without any pre-conditions, and led him to evolve an unpretentious visual language that is surreal and playfully erotic.
Xavier’s collage-like canvases are known for their often vivid colours and fantastic creatures. Effervescent pinks, luminous reds, bright yellows and greens are often the foundation upon which he builds his dreamworlds of soft colours that are inhabited by a combination of creatures of the imagination, birds, fish, elephants, other animals and humans. For almost a decade (from 2002 onwards) the signature on his canvases were always accompanied by a small sketched barcode, a comment on our consumerist culture. It was his disdain for a cut-throat life in the metropolises, – reflected in this act – that led him to settle down in Kovalam against the advice of his friends.
Xavier’s focus has always been on art for art’s sake. He explains: “I don’t make art to decorate houses and match people’s walls. There’s a lot of contradiction in my paintings, which can be very disturbing. If I talk about sexuality, there’s also death on the same canvas. Not everyone will like nor understand my art work; they’re not meant to.”