The old woman with wrinkled face in the middle has a cyclic set of images and faces surrounding her. The two-dimensional relief work in copper is a symbolic representation of the origin, existence and cessation of human life. Every image translates the symbols of creation; an impregnated womb, a mother’s bosom and the face of a baby. They appear on images of ‘planet and satellites’, as if the process of birth and death is never ending. “It is the life I see around me. What we call death brings another life to the earth,” says Ajayan.
The solo show of sculptures and paintings - Margins and Mergings - has showcased several works of V S Ajayan, a fine arts teacher from Thrissur. He has experimented with numerous materials including stone, wood, fibre glass, brass, copper and colours. Yet, he vouches that each of them has qualities and difficulties of its own. “Though I like to work on clay, it demands a vast space to work out. Maintenance and modification of the materials are also challenging,” he says.
A noteworthy piece among the displays - a sculpture made in fibre glass, stone and digital printing - has the figure of Buddha on top, a traditional grinding stone in the middle and a display of money at the bottom. The piece signifies the value of the principles of great men like Buddha and their decline in the present world. “Those great personalities can be anyone, Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln or Jesus Christ. Now, in a rat-race to make money, people have discarded the great principles taught by them,” he remarks. For people who run behind money, it gives them power and pleasure. The grinding stone, symbolising a flower in the middle, signifies the comforts money can provide.
His paintings, oil on canvas, appears to have a distinct property of reflecting an illusionary effect on figures. The painting ‘kiss’, for instance, clearly reflects this characteristic. He has brought in the effect of two figures kissing in a subtle way. Almost similar is ‘childhood bedroom’ where the painting creats wonder in the viewer with a jumbled form of images on it. “The painting is about the fearful thoughts that flash across the mind of a child when he is left alone in a room. It is an assimilation of many ideas, not a single one,” he says. On close scrutiny, we see a deer, calf and a lion in the painting - figures that reflect the anxiety in the mind of the child.
The engravings of Mother Theresa in two different expressions, the wood and fibre glass recreation of the idol in the shape of a female reproductive organ at the Kamakhya temple in Assam, a three-dimensional figure of Ravana in brass, wood and fibre glass are some of the striking pieces among the display.
The exhibition on at the Museum Auditorium will conclude on Sunday. Timing is from 10 am to 6.30 pm.