Lladro's sculptor Raul Rubio has worked hard on his Spirit of India collection featuring Ganesha, Rama and Sita
The Lladro store in UB City is ablaze with bright lights, making their dolls look paler and more delicate, and displayed in the centre are a collection of four Ganeshas. While one statue of the Hindu god imitates a dance move the three others are each holding a veena, bansuri and mridangam. The collection belongs to sculptor Raul Rubio's series on India titled “Spirit Of India”.
“This is one of my favourite projects — the Ganeshas collection. I'm especially proud of its result because for me it was a challenge to deal with a new thematic conception and treatment, different from all that I had carried out until now.”
Rubio, who has been working as a sculptor for over a decade, comes from a family of sculptors and his training began in his father's workshop where he watched his father play with porcelain and create art with his hands. “I wanted to be like my father; he is my mentor. Sculpting was a childhood passion and I had watched my father do it, and this inspired me.”
Sculpture is a challenging art form, not just in the creation but also the procedure that goes into it.
“If I have to recreate a tree, I will have to first study the subject and then work on every part of the tree independently — the trunk, the branches, the leaves and stems will all require separate attention. The inspiration to do the ‘Spirit Of India' collection came from the rich and colourful culture you have. But because I was not familiar with it on a first-hand basis, when I started out, a lot of research had to go into it.”
He got a lot of help from the India office and the Internet. “I saw thousands of different images, studied them, and made notes of the different types of images and the detailing that went into them. I also used to make smaller prototypes of the final piece I envisioned and made the final piece only once I was fully satisfied.”
Raul has also done Rama-Sita sculptures that depict the couple in all their royal glory. “The Indian iconic representations are not only about symbolism, but there are also decorative qualities, its colourful wealth and its formal and ornamental characteristics, and above all, the balance and serenity which they transmit. And although I have not read the epic in the course of my research I learnt about it and understand their significance in the nation's culture and traditions.”
Raul first works on a sketch – the part he regards as most creative. “This is the first impression I have of the sculpture and the possibilities at this point are endless and then I go with the flow. Sometimes I have to change the design to suit the final product and there are technical limitations while you work with porcelain. But as far as imagination and creativity are concerned, I never limit myself.”
Raul is currently working on two projects inspired by Hindu iconography, Lakshman and Hanuman, two deities which belong to the scene of the Rama Darbar and accompany the couple Rama and Sita.