Art

EH Pushkin creates powerful narratives using painting and sculpture

EH Pushkin with his works

EH Pushkin with his works   | Photo Credit: S Mahinsha

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His works are on display at the exhibition, ‘Art is conscious of being perceptive’

Saint Koku stands tall on a pedestal, upright and calm, his red plume shining bright in a stream of yellow light falling on white feathers. EH Pushkin seems to have pushed his artistry to paint his pet, Koku, a rooster, which was fatally injured in an encounter with Pushkin’s dog, Chikku. “I found the bird on the highway on the last day of a year (December 31). He had fallen out of a cage in a truck that was moving ahead of my scooter, probably on its way to some slaughter house. I took it home and named it Koku, a shortened form of ‘kozhi kunju’ (chick). He was part of my family for six months. He loved silence....,” says Pushkin.

‘The Allegory of Saint Koku’, in acrylics, is among the works Pushkin has displayed at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi art gallery at Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan as part of his exhibition, ‘Art is conscious of being perceptive’. An alumnus of the College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum, and MS University, Vadodara, he has showcased wooden sculptures and drawings at the exhibition.

Paintings by EH Pushkin on display

Paintings by EH Pushkin on display   | Photo Credit: S Mahinsha

The artiste says that his house is home to many abandoned birds and animals, some of which have made their way into his works. There is one of his cat sitting on the lap of his daughter, Rumina Pushkin. Another is an acrylic work, ‘Animal refuge in a perceptible composition’, a creative representation of his attachment with animals.

Touch wood

The exhibition is special for the artist because he has showcased sculpture for the first time. “I have exhibited only my paintings till now. I knew I could ideate through sculpture just as I can through my paintings. I started out with wood because it is easily available. Also, I feel that working with wood can help me gather experience to work in other media,” he says.

As in his paintings, animal figures have been created in wood as well. In fact, he has taken the creative freedom of an artist to make ‘Trifisean’, “an imaginary being”, made from the wood of acacia. “‘Trifisean’ is a word I’ve coined, from the words, Tri, fish, serpent and animal. The figure has the tail of a fish, body of a serpent and a blue head of an animal. Mythology and literature have several such creatures, most of which are a blend of man and animal,” says Pushkin.

‘Trifisean’, a wooden sculpture by EH Pushkin on display

‘Trifisean’, a wooden sculpture by EH Pushkin on display   | Photo Credit: S Mahinsha

While he has combined the shape of a wooden chirava (coconut scraper) with that of a bird in his work, ‘Bird’, Pushkin says that creating ‘Animal’ was rather easy because he could procure a piece of the punna tree (ball nut tree), which was shaped like an animal. ‘Incredible pet’ comes with a metal piece as its tail.

‘Rings’, carved out of coconut wood, with coconut shells shaped as rings, is the first among his works in wood. As ‘Blossom’ in gamhar wood (kumbil) celebrates flowering, ‘Fruit’, done in the same wood, is an abstract representation of a fruit.

‘Demolished nuclear warhead’, a wooden sculpture by EH Pushkin on display

‘Demolished nuclear warhead’, a wooden sculpture by EH Pushkin on display   | Photo Credit: S Mahinsha

Pushkin also contemplates on the world and the vicissitudes of life through his art. ‘Demolished nuclear warhead’, worked in a single piece of wood, gives a strong message against nuclear weapons. Done in shades of red, grey and beige, the weapon is shown as being dismantled with a knife with a handle that is white, “the colour of peace”.

His drawings in ink, although overshadowed in size by the paintings and sculptures, too impress with the themes. Among them is “his favourite”, ‘A Discarded Power Plant’. “You can connect it with how we are polluting the environment, especially against the context of what is happening in Delhi,” he says.

The exhibition is on till November 24. Time: 10 am to 6.30 pm.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 1:34:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/eh-pushkins-powerful-narratives-in-art/article30037095.ece

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