S. Anil Radhakrishnan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sponge has become a sought-after medium among artists who dress up floats for pageantries in the capital.

Sponge is used extensively in the 85-odd floats in the 2009 edition of the pageantry that marks the conclusion of Kerala Tourism’s Onam Week.

It was artist C.B. Jinan who was instrumental in using sponge in the floats for the pageantry in the 1990s instead of conventional materials like plywood and thermocol.

‘Unmatched’

“The flexibility and the attention it can grab are unmatched. Bright colours need to be used as the floats keep moving, often after sunset,” says Shyli Radhakrishnan who prepared the float for the Thiruvananthapuram City Corporation.

Handling sponge takes lesser time compared to other materials, artists say.

Floats of the Kerala State Literacy Mission, Keltron, the Farm Information Bureau and the Priyadarshini planetarium are also using sponge as the major medium.

“I was approached by 18 firms to prepare floats this year. We took the order only from nine this year,” says Jinan, a four-time gold medallist for the ‘Kerala Pavilion’ at the India Trade Fair in New Delhi.

Team work

The floats, which cost Rs.one lakh each, are the handiwork of a team comprising a designer, carpenter, welder, spray-painter and electrician.

“We started the work at Balaramapuram 20 days ago. It was a round-the-clock affair for 40-odd workers. All the nine floats were moved to the Tagore theatre premises two days ago for finishing touches,” says Subash, who has been working with Jinan for the last 10 years.

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