Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Jun 30, 2003

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus Kochi Published on Mondays & Thursdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

The sacred image


IT WOULD be in the natural scheme of things that an art exhibition held in the premises of the pastoral organisation centre, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council would relate to theology and spirituality. It comes as no surprise then that a bulk of Moses' oeuvre is devoted to the icons of Christianity.


Besides a couple of small canvases depicting St. Thomas and St. Michael, there are the larger compositions of Virgin Mary and Infant Christ and the well-known Last Supper. While it is no secret that the themes are borrowed, the young painter's treatment of these subjects is both fresh and innovative. The historical incident is transported to a Malayali household where Christ squats on the floor to partake of his typically Malayali fare. The disciples, all of them fishermen, assemble around him, their food served on plantain leaves. The mat on which they sit is laden with food, complete with bananas, rice, fish and prawns and laddoos. The `juba' and `mundu,' with that narrow piece of cloth thrown over the shoulder completes the picture of a nattily dressed native. Moreover, the architectural setting is characteristic of the area. The ornamental pattern behind Christ conceals a couple of Hindu symbols such as the `trishul,' indicative of a living tradition, intrinsically linked with the regional historical-cultural settings from which they arise. In spite of the brilliant, bright clothing donned by the figures, the canvas is suffused with simplicity, another hallmark of the State.



Moses

The figures are placed frontally so that their facial expressions are visible to the viewer. The artist never forgets that his purpose is to highlight the beauty of the spiritual world. That explains his disregard for canons of art such as perspective and the play of light and shade. The lack of perspective leads to a delightful flatness in the composition. Even as this painting is his fourth interpretation of Da Vinci's Last Supper (with one of them already mounted on the walls of a home in Rome) Moses says he did penance for weeks before being blessed with the right visions to start the project. And that's not all. A prospective buyer is urged to go through a period of fasting and prayer before he can receive the canvas. There are some amusing, anecdotal paintings brought in to break the monotony of sacred art, which signal the artist's colourful imagination.

In a humorous self-portrait, the artist enters the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. The relentless rain has cast unsightly blobs on his already derelict restroom; this is a cause of worry. He brings to his composition his exceptional ability to produce flatness. It's his unselfconscious use of design and shape that suspend the bucket, towel rack and tap in mid air, rendering the picture enjoyable in the sheer patterning of objects.

S. K

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2003, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu