Who said once you have crossed your sixties, you should sit at home and spend your retirement life idly relaxing on an easy chair...For those who think ageing is a hurdle to fulfil your passions, 63-year-old, Usha Ramachandran is an exception. The homemaker-turned artist and sculptor gave wings to her artistic bend only three years ago. She is on a full reign of her dreams with her solo exhibition of sculptures, paintings and sketches at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, Durbar Hall Art Centre.
Titled ‘Rhythms of Life’, the exhibition showcases the myriad facets of everyday life and ordinary moments in extraordinary frames. “Through ‘Rhythms of Life’, I want to bring into play life’s different moments that we often fail to notice in our daily life,” says Usha Ramachandran.
Usha through her paintings and sketches finished in charcoal, pastel and soft pastels has deftly captured some heart-touching slices from life. Be it the burqa-clad women’s charcoal sketch or the charcoal and pastel sketch of a group of men gathered in the veranda of temple, or an everyday scene where an ‘Umma’ is waiting anxiously for her husband who doesn’t show a slightest botheration for his wife and smoking away his beedi. “The temple scene is inspired from my childhood memory. Earlier people used to gather at temple courtyards for chit chats. Now, it is hard to witness such a scene. Through the burqa-clad women’s sketch, I wanted to show how these women express things just through their eyes,” explains Usha.
Usha who doesn’t like to name her creations says, “Giving titles will only limit one’s imagination. If I give names to my paintings, I am imposing my expressions on the people. Art lovers will then be restricted to my title.” Of the 37 paintings on display, an acrylic on canvas catches the attention. The painting of a father and his son shows the intricate relationship and bonding between the two. “The painting is done with knife. This father is an ordinary man but his son has many aspirations. Though he is a common man, he shows the strength of an extraordinary person who is ready to walk that extra mile to fulfil his son’s dreams,” she describes.
Moving on to Usha’s sculptures, which are mostly in bronze, they show the aesthetic simplicity and technical brilliance of an artist whose life is driven by art. “My sculptures are mostly in bronze though I like to work in wood, terra cotta and fibre glass too,” says the artist who was born in Thalassery and now settled in Thiruvananthapuram.
Be it a newspaper photograph, books, cinema or people that she comes across, inspiration breathes in from everywhere for her. The ‘Dreamcatcher’ portrays a girl who is running with all her might to catch her dream which is fingers away from her as a butterfly. “She is running after her dream and is focused on realising what it is. Completing this art work was challenging as the sculpture is standing on a single toe. It was difficult to balance the whole weight of the piece on a grounded leg,” she explains. The 31 sculptures on display shows her love for live actions and movement. Be it the 57x23x40-cm sculpture titled ‘The Diving Save’ where a goalkeeper is in mid-air with one hand on the ball or 36x40x40-cm bronze wonder titled ‘The Surprise Kick’ where the artist shows how an unexpected kick by a small football player catches a tall well-built player unawares, all the images are frozen moments of the live high action moments. “Some of the sculptures were recreated after I saw the newspaper photographs. ‘I Can Fly’ which took one-and-a-half-months to finish was inspired from Shobana’s dance posture. From the actual dance posture, I brought in some changes suiting my sculpting,” says Usha, a mother of two.
Other awe-inspiring sculptures from the collection are the more contemporary ‘The Laptop Boy’, ‘The Book Lover’ and ‘The Bird’s Fascinating Tale’. “The ‘Laptop Boy’ is about the people in the current generation who don’t have time to speak to those sitting next to them but can sit hours and hours glued to their laptops,” she adds. The exhibition is on till October 6.