Kerala

An artist is building a hill on 12 cents on land in Kasaragod

Artist and sculptor Surendran Kookanam collecting soil to create a hill as a mode of protest against the destruction of laterite hills in Kasaragod.

Artist and sculptor Surendran Kookanam collecting soil to create a hill as a mode of protest against the destruction of laterite hills in Kasaragod.

At a time when several laterite hills are being razed to the ground, an activist at Kookanam, Kasaragod, is creating one on his small parcel of land measuring 12 cents. Sculptor and artist Surendran Kookanam got the idea after a hill near his house was razed for development works.

Surendran said his endeavour would not just involve dumping truckloads of earth on the site. The hill would comprise soil collected from religious and historical places in India and abroad.

“The motive is not just to protest against the razing of hills, but also to create awareness about the importance of laterite hills in this part of the State,” said the artist, who has drawn inspiration from anthills for his five-year-long project.

From atop Kuruvan Mala

When a neighbourhood hill, Kuruvan Mala, which he used to frequent with his friends as a child, was demolished some time ago, Surendran decided to make amends and create a hill on his own. “We used to watch ships in the sea, traditional practitioners collecting medicinal plants, and wildlife from close quarters. Now, children can only listen to all this in awe,” he said. He wants today’s children to relive and savour his experience. “For this, I will plant trees and shrubs that are usually seen in such laterite hills.’

Surendran said he had been protesting in various ways against the massive destruction of hills for quarrying, laterite stone and for other development works in the district. “People destroy everything because of greed. I wish to send across a message that destroying is easy, creating takes a toll,” he said.

Ridicule and support

People have already started calling his idea crazy. “They assess the value of the land, but they do not see my intention,” he said. However, some have expressed their support and contributed soil for the hill. This includes schools, students, writers and his friends working abroad. Surendran’s next destination is the Andamans from where he plans to bring a handful of soil for the hill that “will be as tall as it can be.”


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Printable version | Jul 17, 2022 7:49:05 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/an-artist-is-building-a-hill-on-12-cents-on-land/article65590639.ece