West indian culture

Of culture, nature and roots – The New Indian Express

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Express press service

KOCHI: Born and raised in an agrarian family on the outskirts of Sasthamcotta in Kollam district, the young sculptor Maneesh Bhaskaran has always sought to find the binding force between man and nature. His recent series titled Tera Sapiens includes a collection of around 20 sculptures made primarily using the medium of terracotta. Although he has presented his exhibitions in other group exhibitions, Maneesh is delighted to be able to bring his solo exhibition to the capital.

Tera Sapiens is Maneesh’s conversation about the examples that inspired his life as a sculptor. The youngster, who has a BFA from Raja Ravi Varma College of Fine Arts, Mavelikkara, has sculpted wooden figures, steel installations and mixed clay and ceramic art pieces to define his ideologies. Some of his intriguing works include an elongated structure of human vertebrae titled ‘Sleeping’ and terracotta blocks arranged like a modern house named ‘Space’ which reflects his vision of urban culture and the human way of life.

Her other sculptures are interactions and reflections of her experiences growing up in a rural village. The red terracotta figure of an earthen house surrounded by grains of rice indicates Maneesh’s dreams of succeeding as an artist while holding firmly to his agrarian roots. If he affirms that his works are open to the interpretations of the spectators, he also offers his original explanations. “The piece called ‘Expectations’ are my dreams. The grains of rice highlight the nativity. These were harvested from our paddy field in Kollam. It gives the message that no matter how hard we run behind our dreams, we must not forget our roots. Another work of art made from steel, named “Plough”, is also my vision of agriculture. Steel is a difficult material to work with. The steel plow tool showcases the beauty of hard work,” the artist explains. The exhibits titled “Self Destruction” and “Serpentine” are also a reflection of his cultural vignettes.

Apart from nature and culture, Maneesh also portrays socio-political aspects in his characters. The discrimination he faced and witnessed also became the subject of his art. Female-centric subjects, including body measurements, are beautifully depicted by the artist through “Pain of a flower”. He compares a woman’s vagina to a flower. “A woman’s belly is like a flower that gives birth to new life. I used manjadikuru and kunnikuru as metaphors for a bleeding vagina. It’s also a token of love towards femininity,” he says .

His love affair with steel can be seen in his work ‘Boomerang’. It also comes with a message about the need to save mother nature. A steel fishtail is attached to a scrap metal crusher base, to illustrate the importance of recycling. “There was a small stream near my home in Kollam polluted by rampant industrialization. To save this little creek, I plan to erect an illustration where the steel fish tale will be filled with the plastic waste collected from the creek. I believe that nature is like a boomerang, it brings us what we give it. The steel structure is a small replica of my oversized structure that is yet to be built,” adds Maneesh who works as a teacher in Kollam.

The exhibition is held at Vylopilli Samskrithi Bhavan

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