KOCHI: Bangalore-based IT expert Chad Voss came across mural artist Sasi K Warier, who had done a series of paintings on the life of Jesus Christ, through a newspaper article. Intrigued, he did a Google search and managed to get in touch with Sasi. Thereafter, he commissioned Sasi to do a series on the ‘Mysteries of the Rosary’.
These are meditations about episodes from the life and death of Jesus Christ. It begins with the Annunciation and concludes with the Ascension into Heaven by Jesus. It comes under the headings of the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries and the Luminous mysteries. Each Mystery has five sub-themes, for a total of 20 scenes.
After doing some research, Sasi got down to work. But it took a year before he could complete the project. Initially, he sent rough drafts by mail and Chad approved them. And all these works, measuring 2 ½ feet x 7 feet, were on display at a recent exhibition called ‘Rosary’ at the Indian School of Arts in Kochi.
Expectedly, Sasi gives the images an Indian touch. So Jesus Christ has black hair, moustache and beard instead of the traditional blond colour. And he wears a shawl. His disciples are also black-haired. In the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples are usually depicted sitting behind a long table, but Sasi has done something different. His Jesus sits cross-legged on the floor, behind a small circular table. And so are the other disciples. “I wanted to remain true to the Kerala mural style and the Indian habit of sitting on the floor,” he says.
In the image, one disciple is looking away. And that is Judas Iscariot who betrays Jesus to the Romans later. And since the scenes are sombre, Sasi has not given bright coloured clothes to the women. Hhe has avoided using necklaces, earrings, rings or bracelets. In fact, he has made dresses as they wear in the Gulf (West Asia) where Jesus lived. Mary has been shown wearing a veil.
And in the Crucifixion scene, where Jesus is nailed to a cross, very little dripping blood is shown. “Again, that is in the Kerala mural style,” says Sasi. Across the top of the frame, above different images, he has drawn angels, pigeons and bells, and musical instruments like the harp, violin and shenai. Gallery visitor Shreya says, “It is nice, interesting and colourful.” Today, the paintings are hanging in Chad’s house, but he has relocated to the USA.