Art

Artist P Elanchezhiyan’s sculpture series captures the beauty of leaping bovines

The detailed sculptures are made of bronze and follows the Chola casting method

A figure of Garuda — the powerful, strong bird-god from Indian mythology — stands right at the centre of the gallery. Made of bronze, it exudes energy. However, the structure, with a body constituting smaller figurines (Dasavathara), wears a despondent expression. Why? Artist and sculptor P Elanchezhiyan, the man who created this series, says, “I wanted to show the human side of Garuda, which is not seen in many texts.”

This beautiful figurine is one of many created in bronze and stone by Elanchezhiyan displayed at Forum Art Gallery in Adyar, in an exhibition titled Poetry in Bronze.

Elanchezhiyan’s subjects are almost always caught in action; but frozen in time. It is his third solo show in the gallery and each time, bronze has been his favourite medium to work on. Sculpting is his forte and bronze, as a medium, has been kindest to him, he says.

Artist P Elanchezhiyan’s sculpture series captures the beauty of leaping bovines

His love for bovine subjects reflects in almost all the work in this series. A careful marriage of elements of Nature and the bovine, catches one’s attention too. On a bronze plate filled with clear water, the figure of Kamadhenu (the cow goddess) sits on lotus leaves. The entire setup, which could fit into any cosy corner, resembles a lotus pond. These ponds, featuring varying characters — sometimes, the bovine takes a backseat while Krishna shines — form a series. Elanchezhiyan admits that he is branching out from the single bovine figure format.

“It takes time to shift from something that you have been working on for so long, but it will happen,” he says.

His interest in animals, especially cattle, stems from his childhood in Tiruvarur. “My father is a farmer, and back in the day, we had a lot of cattle at home. Especially cows. I was always left with the job of bathing them and taking them out to graze,” the artiste recalls fondly.

He adds that his holidays from college were spent with these gentle creatures. “Seeing them in the middle of any action is a spectacle in itself,” says the artiste, who has worked at the Lalit Kala Akademi for over 10 years.

Artist P Elanchezhiyan’s sculpture series captures the beauty of leaping bovines

This love is evident in his sculpture, including a meticulously-executed bronze of a bullock frozen mid-leap as a man with a cloth bound around his head runs behind it. Elanchezhian says that it is a scene from jallikattu.

When looked at closely, smudged fingerprints can be seen running along the body of every bovine figure.

“This is to redefine the texture of the figure. When we model the shape in wax, we do it with hands. The wax then melts when hot metal is poured over it,” says the artiste, adding that this is the Chola method of sculpting he has been following. But with an added touch. In his work, the fingertips that craft each sculpture remain with it, for posterity.

The exhibition is on at Forum Art Gallery, Adyar, till July 20, 10.30 am to 6.30 pm, Monday to Saturday. For details, call 42115596.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 4:16:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/elanchezhians-bovine-art-on-display-at-forum-art-gallery/article28319478.ece

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