They were all over Kerala once, hay stacked in neat round shapes, announcing the plenty of a rice-eating people. No more.
There is hardly any paddy cultivation now; the dead wetlands have become symbols of death. T K Sreenandanan captures the pathos in his own way. In his pastel and charcoal work on paper, ‘Hay Stupa’, the old scene comes alive.
Nandan’s sculptures and paintings are on show at the Vyloppilly Sanskriti Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram from March 22. “Not by conscious choice,” says the artist, “it so happened”. It’s obvious Nandan could not keep away from what the terrain is going through. The paintings and sculptures talk in subdued tones, like a slow-paced music concert, but they pierce the heart. The bronze sculpture of fallen leaves and their giving way to a germinating seed shows hope. Another work, again in bronze, shows a school of fish in a cylindrical form, one melting into another, a perfect composition to convey symbiosis.
The big and the small, their being together in motion. This work shows a moment frozen in time; put the fish in water and they shall all swim away. The pain ting of the coconut palm frin ged seas of the west coast, boats and catamarans arran ged neatly show the violence of monoculture plantations. For a biodiverse rich land, the plantations were a mistake. Through the visual media Nandan describes much more than what so many environmental activists talk about.
P R J Pradeep is a freelance journalist in Kerala
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