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Monday, Feb 24, 2003

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Down-to-earth designs

Simi Nirula's creations are inspired by tribal art sensibilities, lending the modern pieces an old world charm.

TAKE FIGURES and vignettes from the North Indian countryside frozen in timeless postures, invest them with shades of mud and earth and touches of tribal art sensibilities, and give them a sense of expressive movement. And you have the highly individualistic collection of hand sculpted figurines, artefacts and lifestyle items crafted by Simi Nirula of Kolkata which are being showcased at a special exhibition in the city. She looks at rural India and translates them into layers of creative perceptions with the exciting new medium of a specially created chemical compound reinforced with fibreglass and metal. The results are charming with a good terracotta finish which invests every object, from groups of musicians to exotic table lamp base with a special textured drama.

While many of Nirula's sculpted pieces such as elegantly conceived fisherfolk, vases and elephant forms stand by themselves many have been used as table bases, lamp stands, etc. Among the most dramatic sculpted glass topped tables is one which is formed by exquisitely delineated `dandiya raas' dancers and another which celebrates a group of folk musicians. In both, the clothes, expressions and movement of the figures are beautifully brought out. A rural scene complete with bullock cart under the shade of a tree doubles up as lamp base. Nuanced detailing and realism is at the centre of Nirula's art. The range includes wall panels, enormous vases and urns, mirror frames and a sculpted door with huge brass facings which is definitely more art than craft.

The niche exhibition also features Bangalore based `Nostalgia's colonial style furniture: antique, refurbished as well as reproductions. Especially designed for apartments and smaller space frames the exhibits includes elegant consoles, divans, corner tables, mirrors, book racks, shelves, etc., each with its unique USP. A pretty carved glass topped table inset with mirror catches the eye as much a tiny three-cornered table celebrating Chettinad tiles. The larger pieces include rosewood two seaters, carved pillars, armchairs etc

The exhibition of hand sculpted and colonial style furniture is on at Contemporary Arts & Crafts, 45 CP Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet, till 26th February.


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