National awardee, master craftsperson and bronze iconographer par excellence L. Rathakrishnan’s masterpieces are the cynosure of all eyes at Master Creations 2010, an exhibition celebrating Srushti’s 10th anniversary. Srushti, Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Artisans Welfare Association, took wing 10 years ago as a marketing platform as well as a place for interaction and discussions among artisans drawn from the four southern states. Today it is a vibrant organisation and mouthpiece of more than 40 artisans.

Master Creations showcases quality craft expressions of these artisans and those of other invitees. The products range from an exquisite blue sapphire mala to a perfect brass Buddha meditating under the Bodhi tree, from a variety of brass lamps to large animal forms made from stone from Varanasi, painted wood icons, Thanjavur art and carved walnut wood furniture from Kashmir. Swamimalai bronzes form a significant portion of the exhibits.

Invested with a sense of poetry and movement each of L. Rathakrishnan’s bronzes is a master piece. A beautiful Nataraja, a nine-ft tall Vishnu and six-ft tall standing Parvathi are among the most awe- inspiring of Rathakrishnan’s creations. The faces of most of the icons are imbued with extraordinary beauty and harmony. Master Creations also includes smaller icons. Lakshmi, Saraswati, Rishabh and Radha Krishna figure among the smaller creations have exquisite detailing. How long did it take for him to create the stupendous Maha Vishnu? “Two years,” says the master crafts person, constantly assisted by 20 assistant artisans. “Each art object is the imagination of the artist particularly in the case of an icon, in which the artisans is guided by the highlights appearing in the shastras. According to Rathakrishnan, each bronze icon is one of its kind, since the Panchaloha filled moulds are broken after solidification in the process of creation of the bronzes.

Master Creations 2010 is on view at Srushti, Sudershan Building, Ground Floor (Opp. Park Sheraton Hotel), till November 2.

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