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Tribal motif in iron sculptures on display

Staff Reporter
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ETHNIC ART: Nandlal Viswakarma, a craftsman from Bastar in Chhattisgarh, gives finishing touches to a sculpture at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi's Art Gallery in Thrissur on Sunday. — Photo: K. K. Najeeb
ETHNIC ART: Nandlal Viswakarma, a craftsman from Bastar in Chhattisgarh, gives finishing touches to a sculpture at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi's Art Gallery in Thrissur on Sunday. — Photo: K. K. Najeeb

‘Lohamudra', a collection of sculptures by Nandlal Viswakarma a craftsman of Lohar Community from Bastar in Chhattisgarh, is on display at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi's Art Gallery here.

The exhibits vary from a vibrant antelope of two-inch height to huge iron masks of tribal goddess. Everything on display epitomises the fullness of life and happiness.

Crafted with indigenous methods, each artefact is different in its design and form and reflects the inherent creativity of the tribesmen. Mr. Nandlal uses his hammer like a fine brush to make magnificent objects from wrought iron. He brings myth and magic to the objects he makes. “The sculptures are made from iron sheets without any welding procedure. I have made the main gate of Indira Gandhi Kala Kendra in New Delhi with history of Bastar engraved on it.”

Mr. Nandlal says his ancestors used to extract iron from ore using indigenous methods. They have, through generations, kept the art alive and vibrant. It is through long devotion to these arts that they have achieved perfection. Decorated candle stands, band of musicians and intricate figures of dancers, each piece of exhibit is simply alluring. Masks of ‘Boodi Matha', a tribal Goddess, in different sizes, are another highlight. The tribal people believe that these masks will help to ward off the evil eye.

The exhibition-cum-sales of the iron sculptures will conclude on October 30.

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