Ganesas in different shapes, poses, moods and colours are on display.

An iconographer’s delight, Ganesha assumes a multitude of unique and innovative forms at various exhibitions across the city celebrating the upcoming Ganesh Chaturti festival.

Ganesha, literally meaning ‘lord of all beings,’ is also every artisan’s muse with potters, stone craftsperson, metal smith, wood craftsman, painter, artist and goldsmith vying with one another to fashion Ganesha images in creative ways.

From bronze Swamimalai icons cast in the mould of classic proportions to intricately incised granite and soft stone ones, from antique wood Ganesas to painted marble icons from Jaipur, a wealth of terracotta Ganesas, Thanjavur art and pattachitra frames as well as abstract Ganesas on canvas and paper dance, pose, sing and crawl to captivate both creator and its audience.

Poompuhar celebrates Ganesha in myriad classical poses and in unique imagery. These include a beautifully proportioned three ft dancing Ganesha, a rare half Ganesha-half Hanuman icon, a standing Kalia Ganesha along with a set of 32 exquisite Ganesas, tiny images of perfect symmetry and movement representing the God as Bala, Taruna and embodiment of Bhakti, Veera, Shakti, Dwija Ganapathi, Yogi, Durga and Sankatahara. The 32 images seem to internalise the artist’s imagination, a poet’s sensibility and the artisan’s impeccable skills.

Poompuhar’s ‘Ganesh Darshan’ also has two ft tall soft stone and soap stone icons by Mahabalipuram’s artisans as well as rosewood, sandalwood and papier-mâché Ganesas in varying sizes.

The Central Cottage Industries’ ‘Ganesh Darshan’ collection has bronze and wood Ganesas of exceptional workmanship. While bronze artisans present Ganesas of classical purity in various moods and movement, Tamil Nadu’s wood craft artisans have created one to two ft tall icons playing musical instruments. These have been given an antique finish in muted colours, which recreate grains of wood and a patina of ‘faded’ ambience. CCIE’s collection of painted wood icons glows as brightly and delicately as colourful jewels, while Jaipur’s tiny painted marble Ganesas are a perfect foil to the pristine whiteness of alabaster icons.

Lakshmi Ethiraj Art Galleries’ ‘Ganesh Darshan’ pulsates with the creative strokes of chisel and hammer, the swish of the artist’s brush and the wonderful mingling of colours. Artist Jagan’s canvases of abstraction depict Ganapati in compelling splashes of oranges, yellows and blues. Antique Thanjavur glass painting frames are one-off pieces with depictions of Vallabh Ganesha, Rashi Ganesha and so on. A rare Thanjavur art rendering of Karpagam Vinayaka is gilded poetry, while a large frame of Navagraha Ganesha attracts with its unusual theme. Terracotta Ganesas on display include a charming ‘Jhoola Ganapathi,’ a two ft tall icon in ‘geru’, along with tiny painted Ganesas.

All the three Ganesha Exhibitions are on till September 9. The venues are Lakshmi Ethiraj Art Gallery, 80, 1st Floor, 1st Main Road, CIT Nagar, T. Nagar, Chennai-35; Poompuhar, No. 759, Anna Salai, Chennai-2 and Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Temple Towers, Anna Salai , Nandanam , Chennai-35