Cheenu Pillai

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Cheenu Pillai
Balaji by Cheenu Pillai.jpg
Balaji (2006) Oil on canvas
Born19 December 1971
EducationSelf taught
Known forPainting
Notable work
Celestial Wedding, Dasavatar,Advaitham,Beloved thief
MovementDravidian Orphism

Cheenu Pillai is a self-taught artist[1] from chennai, India who blends European expressionism with dravidian themes.


Cheenu Pillai was born in 1971 in a village in Tanjore district. He spent his school days in his village and then in Tanjore. Cheenu took to painting at very early age, thanks to his elder brother who was artist himself. Brought up in a pious background, portraits of gods used to be his favorite theme. At that age, his rendering of the religious images fulfilled purely a spiritual need. But as he delved more into the forms, the symmetry and balance in the Hindu iconography captured his imagination.

He kept pursuing art with passion all his life, but never considered taking it up as a career. For a consistent topper at school, the only career choice seemed like a white collar job, which is exactly where he ended up. He did his MBA and got into investment banking. Emerging opportunities in information technology led him shift career midway, but art continued as the primary passion. His inspirations heightened during his stint in Europe, where he regularly frequented art galleries.

In 2003, he decided to take up art more seriously and quit his job as the president of a large software company. He continued doing some consultancy works in software, but was able to spend a lot more time painting.

Apparao galleries included Cheenu's works as part of a group show in 2004. Again in 2007, A.v.ilango's art space and Tangerine art sponsored an exhibition of his paintings from the divinity series at the tangerine restaurant, which gave him the initial impetus. Cheenu was part of a group show at Apparao galleries in 2009


Cheenu has evolved a unique style of representation which is hybrid between European movements like cubism, expressionism, orphism and Indian sensibilities in terms of color schemes and layouts.




  1. ^ Muthukrishnan, Abirami. "Art and non-conformism". Ergo. Archived from the original (Web article) on 9 April 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  2. ^ Bhagat, Ashrafi (7 May 2009). "semantics of divinity". the hindu. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  3. ^ Bhagat, Ashrafi. "Allure of Myth". The Hindu.
  4. ^ Mahesh, Chitra (28 December 2007). "Cheenus Art strikes a chord between geometry and divinity". Deccan Chronicle. p. 24. Retrieved 1 August 2020 – via

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