Not on View

Banyan Trees

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Banyan Trees

Artist: G.D. ThyagaRaj (Indian, born 1930)
Date: date unknown
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Dimensions:
Sheet (/image): 21 3/4 × 28 7/8 in. (55.2 × 73.3 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of Stephen R. Currier, 1958.54
Accession number: 1958.54
Classification: work on paper
Label Text Along with his two older brothers G. D. ArulRaj and G. D. PaulRaj, ThyagaRaj was an accomplished watercolorist in his native India. Like his siblings, the artist routinely depicted everyday life in India, with the Banyan Tree—a Ficus species and the country’s national tree—often making an appearance. The trees grow from seeds that germinate on the plant’s branches instead of in the ground, causing aerial roots to fall from stems that eventually envelop its host and become branch-supporting pillars. What may appear to be a forest of Banyans is in actuality a few trees smothered by seedlings. From quick marks and solid outlines, ThyagaRaj exquisitely captures dappled sunlight filtering through the plant’s extensive web of roots and branches. The trees tower over a convoy of “banians,” a group of Hindu merchants who historically traded underneath Banyan trees and inspired the plant’s name. October, 2020
InscriptionG.D. ThyagaRaj (l/r)
entirely unexpected