Mural on popular myth moves from Aspinwall to airport

Artist P.K. Sadanandan with his mural on ‘Parayi Petta Panthirukulam’ installed at CIAL.  

A large mural on ‘Parayi Petta Panthirukulam’, Kerala’s most popular myth on the birth of 12 clans from a subaltern woman, done by artist P.K. Sadanandan in the last edition of the Kochi Muziris Biennale, will now treat visitors of Cochin International Airport’s new T3 terminal to the brilliance of Kerala’s mythological past.

A myth that overturns caste hierarchies, ‘Parayi Petta Panthirukulam’ simply demonstrates that everyone came from the same mother. Mr. Sadanandan created the mural at Aspinwall House using natural dyes extracted from stones, leaf oils and tree sap through the three months of the Biennale with the support of his team and the work turned out to be a huge draw.

A media note said top government and CIAL officials had expressed the desire to find the 15m x 3m mural a home at the newly-constructed Terminal-3 at the airport at the time of the Biennale itself. Among the champions of the idea were Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, former minister M.A. Baby and K.V. Thomas, MP, it said.

“After the Biennale, we had meetings with V.J. Kurien, managing director of CIAL, and other officials to complete the formalities to install the mural in T3. We facilitated their talks with the artist and offered logistical support for the installation,” said Bose Krishnamachari, the president of the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF).

“CIAL is the fourth busiest airport in the country and a masterpiece such as this deserves to be installed here, as it conveys the idea of secularism and speaks strongly against caste-based discrimination,” he added.

Mr. Sadanandan was thrilled at the idea that the work would be viewed by people passing through the airport each day. “I am happy that the painting will draw international attention from a world which may not always focus on art. The methods used in drawing this may have been ancient and traditional, but the message it conveys has much relevance in the present time,” he added.

“I hope this relationship will give a fillip to the efforts made by the KBF to place Kerala on the world cultural map,” Mr. Kurien said.

KBF secretary Riyas Komu said they had received many suggestions for relocating the work after the Biennale, including to State museums. “But the work requires careful maintenance and preserving under certain temperature conditions and it might have placed a huge financial burden on the host. CIAL was a great alternative and the officials there were very supportive,” he said.

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