A tribute to Ramdas Vaidyar who used humour to take a dig at society's ways

Kozhikode’s very own ‘King of Laughter’ Ramdas Vaidyar will be commemorated in a unique manner this year through the ‘Kozhikode-Koyilandy Kunale 2013.’

Obviously, the ‘Kunale’ is inspired by the recently concluded Kochi-Muziris Biennale, which sparked quite a lot of controversy. The organisers plan to conduct the ‘Kunale’ on April 1 every year after the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and promise that they will not demand any funding from the government.

Ramdas Vaidyar is fondly remembered for the way he expressed his anger and disdain for the evils in society, using humour as a weapon. The ‘Kunale’ will be a fitting tribute to the man who forced the people of Kozhikode to think and probe into the obvious through his many exploits. Starting on the ‘April Fools’ Day,’ the ‘Kunale’ has a pair of self-appointed curators — R. Mohan and Francis Kodankandath — who have chosen a set of installations and exhibits for the first edition.

Among the thought-provoking entries with a history, first was an ‘installation’ by the washermen of Muthalakkulam. Ramdas Vaidyar had created history by honouring a washing stone there for being forced to endure the laundering of cloth by the day and the mutual laundering of politicians by the night as Muthalakkulam played the dual role of a dhobi ghat and a venue for public meetings. The ‘Installation’ had been chosen as it was a depiction of how the dirt and sins of the city were laundered on a day to day basis, they said.

The second is a ‘sculpture’ of the broken glass wall in front of the Lalithakala Akademi art gallery in the city. “The glass was broken during an altercation in connection with the opening of the renovated gallery in its early days and has never been repaired. The ‘sculpture’ has been chosen for the ‘Kunale’ since it is a symbol of the arrogance of the authorities and politicians,” say the organisers.

The long row of granite sculptures at Mananchira and the beach have found place in the ‘Kunale’ as they symbolised the neglect meted out to renowned sculptors who toiled for weeks to create the sculptures during a sculpture camp of Lalithakala Akademi. They were installed as part of the Shilpanagaram project, but the authorities failed to find proper locations for such illustrious pieces of art.

The neglected but expensive art works of many well-known artists at the various art galleries in and around Kozhikode have also made it to the ‘Kunale,’ as have the wayside shops along the Kozhikode- Koyilandy road where many sculptors have camped selling their art works dirt cheap. The final entry comprises the heaps of garbage in Njeliyanparamba and along the mini- bypass road that pose a challenge to the public and the authorities. The ‘Kunale’ will continue till October 2.

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