Tea for thought

Narayanan Mohanan’s installation of a teacup and saucer using sand, metal paste and tea powder is eye-catching

Published: 03rd October 2017 10:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th October 2017 07:38 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Four years ago, advertising professional Narayanan Mohanan decided to shift from digital visual art into the world of fine arts. This was driven by a single thought: his belief that art had the power to influence and make a difference in the world. So, when friend and fellow artist Bindhi Rajagopal decided to hold an exhibition in Kochi titled ‘Oradimannu’, Narayanan did not hesitate. His one-inch teacup and saucer installation, which has been made using tea powder, metal paste and soil bemoans the lack of freedom of expression in today’s society. 

“I have focused on the Chai Pe Charcha campaign that was held by the government. Nowadays, whenever I am trying to express something over tea, I think of the Chai Pe Charcha.... and Mahatma Gandhi’s fight for freedom for our land,” said Narayanan.The installation comprises of an upturned metal plate as the base. A saucer and cup filled with sand and using metal paste are a unique addition. A question mark representing Gandhiji’s famed spectacles and the bald head has been decorated using tea powder. 

The soil for the installation was collected from Narayanan’s hometown of Kollam. “The government has used the Chai Pe Charcha campaign to win the hearts of the people. However, we have many victims whose freedom of expression has been curbed. I think it was all a facade,” says Narayanan.The work has been receiving good feedback. According to Narayanan, an American cartoonist had shared the image of his work on an international platform. “I think unique representations such as these get noticed because it has a message. I have always believed that art should be activism at its best,” said Narayanan.


Most of Narayanan’s works have been works of protest including the Juvenile Job Cards, an installation, which was exhibted at the All Lights International Film Festival at Ramoji Film City, ‘We can’t be Mummies’ installation, 100 per cent Off on Hats of Intolerance..?’  among others. The ‘Avishkaaram Prathirodham’ was an installation of icecubes and a fight against fascist forces.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp