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An artist's take on the tsunami

Raja captures the horror of the tsunami in a wax sculpture



FOR POSTERITY: The tsunami's fury caught in a black wax sculpture by Raja

WHEN THE once-graceful waves showed their deadly side on Black Sunday, Unnal Mudiyum Thambi (UMT, for short) Raja, a multi-skilled artist, was left speechless at Nature's fury. What moved him most were the visuals of children rendered orphan in the dance of destruction and the tales of heroism that came to the fore.

These prompted him to come up with a wax sculpture that captured the tsunami's lethal blow. His subject? The countless mothers who moved their children to safety even while they perished in the rising waters.

His black wax sculpture shows a mother, her raised arms cradling her baby even as she is neck-deep in the swirling waters. Her tears mingle with the salted water of the sea.

"I don't know what happened to that mother. But, that image haunted me. Only God knows how many more mothers did what she did. The sculpture is my way of keeping the memories of the dead alive. People must never forget what happened," says Raja, a goldsmith by profession.

His interest does not stop with sculpture.

He is a painter (his range of media include rice grains, pencil tips and egg shells), an actor (Chokkathangam and the new movie of Lingusamy) and much more.


He also fashions images of deities from vegetables (Ganesha is his favourite deity and cheppankizhangu his preferred vegetable).

His multi-faceted talent won him the Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity's Vocational Service Award in the 2002.

Raja also recreated the tsunami on a cart and took it on the streets from Kottaimedu to the Collectorate.

He did the same on the bund of the Ukkadam tank, using about 30 wax models of boats, humans and broken trees.

For the wax sculpture, he showed the turbulence in the sea by creating wave-like forms.

To get the wet look, he dribbled white candle wax on top of the sculpture. The effect? Drops of wax that glisten like water.

The work took him four hours to complete.

SUBHA J RAO

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