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Creative by instinct

Art, for sculptor Aryanad Rajendran, is a medium to convey the message of love.


THE STATUE of a mother breast-feeding her baby fascinates the people who enter the campus of the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH), Thiruvananthapuram.

But very few know the artist whose magical fingers sculpted this symbol of maternal love. Meet sculptor Aryanad Rajendran for whom art is a medium to convey the message of love.

Long before the Hollywood blockbuster, `Jurassic Park', hit the silver screens, the dinosaurs sculpted by Rajendran near the Museum had caught the fancy of the residents of the city. "It was after referring to books and pictures that I decided to sculpt a Brontosaurus and an Iguanodon," says Rajendran. These sculpted dinosaurs were, later, taken to a newly-opened park at Kovalam.

A graduate of the Fine Arts College, Thiruvananthapuram, Rajendran took up a job as an art teacher at Mitraniketan, Vellanad. Sometime later, he was appointed as an `artiste modeller' with the Department of Anatomy at the MCH, Thiruvananthapuram.

A turning point in his life, says Rajendran, was his being selected for a training programme in arts at Bahrain.

The classes were led by Italian sculptors, who imparted the participants with specialised training in designing the interior of palaces, recalls Rajendran. "The training emphasised practical sessions. We were involved in the designing of a palace. The different styles of wall carvings that we got to see were a learning experience," says Rajendaran.


Italian architecture and sculpting is famous for its carvings on pillars and walls. Rajendran believes that his stint at Bahrain has proved to be extremely useful in the designing of churches. For some years now, Rajendran has been designing the altars of churches in the city and its suburbs.

The altars of the St. Mary's Church at Pongummodu and the Catholic Church at Poonthura bear testimony to Rajendran's artistic expertise. Though he loves to create theme sculptures, Rajendran's other interest is painting. He is a regular participant at the painting exhibitions conducted in the city. Communal riots, caste politics and drought are some of the themes that have found their way onto his canvas. Rajendran's paintings have often prompted viewers to adopt a different perspective and analyse the issues portrayed by him.

As the staff artiste of the Department of Anatomy, Rajendran sketches body charts for the students. Sculpting models of the human body being a part of Rajendran's job, he is able to draw the body charts with ease.

"The staff and students of the campus encourage me to hone my skills," says Rajendran. A former principal of the MCH, Thriuvananthapuram, inspired Rajendran to carve the bust of Hippocrates (the father of Medicine) at the entrance to the college campus.

Apart from making sculptures, the artist has also designed many murals that adorn the walls of theatres in the city. The new park for children adjacent to the Sri Avittom Tirunal (SAT) Hospital has a beautiful sculpture of three children made of pebbles. "I wanted to convey the message of love and friendship," he says. The sculpture depicts the children with their hands on each other's shoulder. "I found this to be the best option."

In 1979, Rajendran was awarded a gold medal by the Lions Club. He is a board member of the Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan and has served as the secretary of the Trivandrum chapter of the Kerala Chithra Kala Parishath for a few years. Rajendran is at present the president of the Parishath.

Sculpting offers a lot of opportunity to those with an artistic bent of mind, feels Rajendran. "Unfortunately, sculpting has now transformed into a business, with artists often charging up to three times the actual amount," observes Rajendran. In order to generate more interest in this work of art, more people should be imparted with training in sculpting, he says.

Rajendran is currently busy with several summer camps in the city. He teaches the children various aspects of sculpting and painting with the aim of spreading the message of love and harmony.

M. S. VIDYANANDAN

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