An exhibition of paintings, sculptures and installation by 11 up-and-coming young artists is on at Amuseum art gallery in the city. These exhibits are entries submitted for K P Krishnakumar Young Artist Award, instituted by the gallery for emerging visual artists in memory of sculptor KP Krishakumar.
Bineesh Narayanan, Dhanya VV, Ebin PR, Midhun J, Praveen Prasannan, Ratheesh Kumar KS, Sandra Thomas, Sumesh BS, Vipin Vadakkiniyil, Vishnupriya P and Vivek VC are the participating artists.
The award-winning work, Gaze-3, by Dhanya has an eye in focus. Done using fabric, metal wire and woollen thread, it is from a series representing parts of a woman’s body. “My art is based around the body. The soft nature of the materials I use, such as cloth, jute and threads, is related to the softness of the body,” says the artist.
Dhanya adds that creating these artworks is her way of venting her fears that arose from a traumatic experience in her childhood. “Women and children, irrespective of gender, continue to be abused. The latter often don’t know what is happening to them. I have had my struggles and creating art is the healing process,” says Dhanya. She picked up embroidery, tailoring and crochet work from her grandmother. Her training in fashion designing also came in handy, as demonstrated in her installation work, a take on spaces using iron rods and cotton threads.
Emotions related to interiors have been captured by Ratheesh Kumar KS. Lending gravity to the work is the medium he has chosen — charcoal. Spaces familiar to him such as his room, kitchen, hostel rooms etc are visualised on canvas. “Every space has a character that depends on the nature of the person using it. My state of mind during the lockdown while cooped up in a room has also come out in the works,” Ratheesh explains.
Vishnupriya’s Inside Out series too looks at the interiors, but in a different light. The vintage hostel rooms of her alma mater, the College of Engineering Trivandrum, have been captured in detail through acrylic on canvas. The Civil Services aspirant explains: “There are times when I can’t figure out my thoughts. But once I put it down on the canvas, I am able to understand them. So painting is like self-discovery.”
Happiness is what Sumesh BS associates with his wood sculptures, which are dedicated to certain aspects and incidents from the life of his friend, Ruhi, which is the title of the works as well. For example, the work showing a pregnant woman is based on a dream that Ruhi had. Another work is inspired by Ruhi’s childhood photo. “I want my work to make people happy or positive,” says Sumesh.
Sandra Thomas has opted for a material that is part of our daily life — paper, which she has combined with toymaking and stitching techniques that she learnt from childhood. Life-size figures wearing masks hint at the pandemic. “When the lockdown was enforced, it was not possible to buy any other material and thus I chose paper, which is easily available. I also wanted to elevate its value as a medium to create art,” she says.
The state of loneliness many of us were pushed into during the last two years is what she has tried to portray through the figures and their actions. A standout work is a collection of nearly 140 miniature figures made with paper pulp. “Gatherings were banned during the lockdown and that aspect has gone into the work. The size of the figures is in keeping with the feeling of confinement we all felt while forced to stay indoors,” she says.
The Man Who Had Been Thrown, one of the works by Ebin, has wall-mounted boxes with minute compartments holding small terracotta and ceramics figures. “I have represented discarded bottles we see all around. But they actually stand for human beings who are abandoned,” explains Ebin.
Vivek has showcased works from an ongoing project, triggered by his paternal grandmother’s medical condition. “She has early stage of Alzheimer’s and keeps connecting incidents and people from the past with the present. The core subjects of the project are death, decay, anxiety…,” says Vivek. Hugely influenced by American artist Hernan Bas, Vivek says that he has been studying heavy and thick brushstrokes used by him. “Paranormal elements are integral to his works and I too have a penchant for spooky tales and narratives,” he adds.
Midhun finds inspiration from his surroundings, as exemplified by his imposing sculptures on the floods and oxygen crisis during the pandemic. Using different media, primarily wood and metal, he has displayed works that leave the viewer awe-struck, like the one on the concept of home. “I love experimenting with materials, especially their transformation process,” says Midhun. The artist adds that he is inspired by the way artists like Martin Puryear and Bruno Walpoth treat wood in their works.
Bineesh’s works are distinct in that he divides the canvas with lines to feature maximum narratives, while Vipin has captured the personal and familiar inside an iron box, a vessel and kindi (brass pitcher). “My world revolved around my mother and these are the objects that she always used,” says Vipin.
The exhibition ends on January 31. Time: 10.30am to 11.30pm