When Usha Ramachandran found V. Satheeshan, an artist and teacher ready to help her give shape to her memories and artistic talent, there was no stopping the sincere student. Her hands sculpted images that lay buried in her and thus were born the 12 bronze sculptures (titled ‘Bronze Age') that are on show at the Vylloppily Samskriti Bhavan.
Each work is a moment frozen in time and bronze. “I grew up in Thalassery and in those days from early morning to 11 a.m., we could hear clothes being washed in various households. 'The Little Laundress', which won an Honourable mention of the Kerala Lalitakala Akademi, shows a young girl in a petticoat washing clothes. Similarly, ‘On a rainy day,' (depicting a man sheltering himself from the rain with a colocasia leaf) captures a familiar scene in the countryside,” says Usha.
‘Father and son' captures a son's delight and trust as he is thrown high in the air by his father and celebrates the bond between the two; it also expresses Usha's memories of her father's homecoming every year. “He was in the army and we used to long for him to come home on his annual leave,” recalls Usha.
However, Usha's exhibition is not made of nostalgia alone. A man striding ahead, jacket flapping in the air, followed by his faithful Dachshund is ‘Shadows' while ‘Move On' has a girl running with her eyes on her watch, her plaited hair flying behind her. She says it symbolises the always-in-a-rush youth of today.
A pole vaulting athlete's grace and power have been encapsulated in yet another work while a man and woman fishing evokes the charm of companionship. “I feel art works should not be titled; it should be self-explanatory but many people keep asking me to name some of my works and so that is why some have titles,” she says.
Expressing her gratitude to her husband, Ramachandran, and her teacher, Satheeshan, she says with a smile that while her husband finances her expensive hobby and encourages her, it is her teacher who gives her the confidence and the know-how to do it.
The busy homemaker and mother of two says although she had wanted to paint and sculpt, she could find the time to do it only now. “I am nearly sixty and I began learning sculpture only last year. There is no time to be lost and so I spend a great deal of time on my painting and sculptures now,” she says with a smile.