On a map of India cut out from black stone, hangs a few human-like forms, tied with yellow threads. This sculpture is artist Madhavan’s take on the 46th chapter in Thirukkural – ‘Sitrinam Seramai’ which is on avoiding bad company. Here, Madhavan compares it with caste killings that have been recurrent occurrences in the country of late.
“The person who kills for caste pride is the one to be shunned, to be avoided,” he explains. Another ceramic piece has high-rise buildings, shaped like a bull and a pickaxe with parched, dark earth beneath them. This is Madhavan’s take on the 74th chapter in Thirukkural that speaks about the crops of growth. ‘Growth at the expense of what?’ he asks.
From sculptures on love to sculptures on tyranny, the exhibit traverses through a myriad of topics. “The most beautiful thing about Tirukkural is that it is relevant for all times,” says Madhavan.
It is also quite evident Madhavan has not shown any restraint in making these sculptures. For Chapter 56 on ‘The Cruel Sceptre’, a man stands impaled above the crown of a ruler and on the crown is the Indian map.
Madhavan has made a total of 133 sculptures, all based on his interpretation of the Thirukkural, one for each chapter in it.
The police brutality in Thoothukudi, caste killings and child rape are some of the ideas that artist Madhavan has expressed through his art. These 133 sculptures have been put up on display at Art House Gallery at Nungambakkam, Chennai.
Speaking to TNM, Madhavan who has been working on it for 3 years says that he brainstormed this idea with a group of friends.
“My friend runs The Symbol Company, a creative startup. We wanted to bring out a unique Thirukkural App and a Thirukkural book. The app will have Fresco paintings and music in addition to the Thirukkural and this is yet to be launched. In the meantime, I thought we can work on another unique idea with sculptures and paintings. The result is this,” he says showing us around.
Madhavan has used a varied mix of media in his sculptures including stone, clay, ceramic, metal, fibre etc to make these sculptures. From a golden mic with a ‘kunkuma pottu’ to ceramic slippers in different sized facing a polished police boot, Madhavan’s sculptures speak a great deal about present-day politics.
The exhibits will be on display until the end of January.