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Perfecting miniature art

THE WORLD of art, these days, is no more an area where one has only limited career options. Like never before, today, more and more youngsters are emboldened enough to embrace fine art as a full time career. But more often than not, such aspirants always had a godfather or godmother to support and elevate them to the limelight and help them to come under the halo of the spotlight.

Meet this artist from Kakkanad, right in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, who wants to make it big, with his unique art, sans any such catalysts. Faith in his abundant talent is the only asset on which he banks on. Jobin makes some of the finest miniature reproductions of architectural marvels in thermocol, a material, which is fast becoming a medium for artistic expression.

Jobin, 22, who has two years of formal training in art, makes immaculate replicas of architecturally beautiful structures. However, his area of specialisation is places of worship, especially churches. And how did he land up doing making such impeccable, sophisticated, structures? "It was not choice by mere chance that made me work with this medium," he says, almost in a whisper.

The soft spoken, young artist, who picked up the basics from Chitralaya School of Fine Arts, Tripunithura, went on to join an architect's firm where he was asked to do the perspectives of proposed building structures. "It was the beginning," says Jobin.

"I was always fascinated by the traditional temple architecture of the State. And many of our old Christian churches bear testimony to this ancient style," Jobin explains on how he began making so many churches in a row.

He is currently working on a project assigned to him by the director of the museum, planned under the aegis of Archdiocese of Ernakulam. He has been asked to do a miniature reproduction the St. Mary's Orthodox Church located at Thiruvalla in Kottayam. The church, popularly known as Kalloopara Valiyapalli, is said to have built in 1243 A.D. and the assignment is to make a thermocol replica of this building exactly as it was when it was first consecrated.

"A lot of research goes into the replication of this structure. I have already visited the present day church, which has retained very little of its earlier splendour," says Jobin.

His latest work, an adaptation from a number of churches built in the traditional style, has finally brought him recognition. The local church authorities have conferred a cash award of Rs. 1,000 to this needy artist. His work of art was also displayed at the St. George Church at Karingachira near Tripunithura. What many do not realise is that the artist shells out huge sums of money for each of these miniature works of art.

Jobin's best work to date is the replica of the St. Sophia Cathedral, now a museum located at Istanbul. The structure is a perfect specimen of the medieval period architecture, which took him long four months to complete.

The western `gopuram' of the famed Vadakkumnathan Temple at Thrissur, a magnificent three-storied structure, is the other noteworthy work that he did on thermocol.

Jobin normally uses thick thermocol pieces used in packaging electronic goods. The murals and other paintings in the interiors of the replicas are done using oil, acrylic and water colour.

The artist, with almost surgical precision replicates the altar of the church, with its magnificent pediments, cornices and carvings. The numerous embellishments on the church walls are also beautifully embossed on the walls of his replicas. These miniature replicas are usually completed within 60 to 70 days and if done on a fast track, within a month.


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