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Surface and beyond

Young Ravi Shah uses forms, surfaces and textures in interesting ways to generate a creative tension in his works

Ravi Shah: a sculptor to watch out for — Photos: K. Bhagya Prakash

Since people are made of sound, listening is important.

Joseph Rael

YOUNG SCULPTOR Ravi Shah is a connoisseur of Blues music. His first solo exhibition, interestingly titled Wood 'N' Blues, puts on display a range of sculptures in wood, stone, and plaster. On the face of it, Ravi seems to reflect on and relate to the tangible physicality of the human body and face. At the same time, one can also perceive a conspicuous attempt to search for a subtext which goes beyond the surface.

The sculptural pieces on display have men and women portrayed in different postures: standing, sitting, and reclining. Besides, a few works take on the human head exclusively, taking it up for close examination.

Poise and balance

Burning Babu and Lalone are full-size standing wooden sculptures. While the former shows a man with black and grimy legs walking on pieces of charcoal, Lalone delineates a pony-tailed youth, whose bare upper body and half-smile add to the poise and balance of the self-portrait.

Look Shivu is a large male head carved in wood, the cracks at the forehead and near the mouth/chin adding a bit of drama. Na, Di! Nicely... is a pensive female head in extreme close-up. Bablu, made in plaster, has a protagonist with rugged but realistic features and expressive downcast eyes.

Seated men are depicted in a couple of wooden sculpture: Chikki of the Mango Tree has a young man in an introspective posture, while the other piece has a more relaxed and open stance. Rodinuded, a headless and bent figure, carries with it an eerie feeling.

Among the reclining pieces, Maggie Woke Up shows the full profile of a woman lying on her stomach, her arms so bent as to suggest that she is trying to get up from her slumber, and Mal.Gall has the side profile of a reclining nude.

The stone sculptures are smaller in size. Two of them, having men contracting into an embryo posture, crouching with the head hidden between the knees, catch one's attention. The exhibition also puts on display some stimulating drawings and sketches of Ravi Shah.


It is interesting to see the manner in which the sculptor uses forms, shapes, surfaces, textures, edges and contrasts to generate a creative tension in his works. With technical refinement and dignified delineation evident in several pieces, Ravi Shah emerges as a sculptor of promise.

However, along with a facility to mirror his memory, there appears to be a tendency to excessively brood over particular emotional moments and experiences, which takes him along a somewhat narrow path. In future works, it would be interesting to see him move towards a freer and more expansive horizon.

(The exhibition is on till August 21 at Gallery Sumukha.)


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