In search of the right shelter

Published: 24th August 2013 10:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th August 2013 10:43 AM   |  A+A-

The eternal shelter of humankind will always be nature. And, on his final and irreversible journey towards the soil, the man provides shelter to a lot others: hordes of micro-organisms that make the putrefying body  their shelter and food, albeit for sometime.

It is this universal truth that Augustine Varghese mainly explores through his terracota sculptures.

‘Shelter’, the expo that is on at Madhavan Nayar Foundation Museum at Edappally, depicts the dissimilar facades of shelter that animate things  seek.

“Our home is nature or soil. It is a perpetual connect between human and the nature that I focus on in my works. And, I think it is apt that I use terracota as a medium to express my relation to the nature,” says Augustine who has exhibited 15 sculptures made by him at the expo.

True to his words, Augustine’s works exudes instant connect with nature. ‘The Man’ that portrays the decaying bust of a dead man renders how we ourselves turn to refuge for the innumerable organisms. A similar female figurine is also exhibited.

The artist has also carved a figurine with indefinite features. “I wanted it  to vaguely resemble Buddha, an eternal shelter for disturbed spirits, who carries another shelter in his head,” says Augustine.

Exploring the different facade of shelter is ‘Purdah’ , the sculpture of a purdah-clad woman. The artist feels that in today’s social situation purdah becomes a shelter for women from the atrocities thrust on them.  The striking sculpture has efficiently touched upon an otherwise taboo subject.

Equally notable is his work ‘Flats’ that debates the so-called ‘flat culture’ that has enveloped us. The figurine lacks a head, a metaphor for ‘headless body’. “That’s how today’s generations are. They have lost the  connect with the earth and are thus painfully ‘headless’, says Augustine , who has won Kerala Lalithakala Akademi State Award for Terracotta Sculpture in 2009.

Augustine’s works rue the change that occurred in man’s perspective towards soil and earthen-art. His works predominantly portray termite mounds that may soon disappear from our radar as we loose our connect with soil.

And, through his sculpture of Vincent Van Gogh, Augustine pays a tribute to the painter whose works portrayed his intense relationship with nature. The exhibition will be on till June 25. A BFA graduate from Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, Augustine’s works were earlier exhibited at the various exhibitions conducted by the Lalithakala Akademy.

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