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At work on Akshara Shilpam which was installed at the Kottayam Public Library in 2015

Art of the matter

Author: admin

When Kanayi Kunhiraman unveiled a 30-ft sculpture of Yakshi, the first nude sculpture installed outside a temple in Kerala, it provoked controversy. Fifty years hence, things have changed. This April, the Kerala government, in association with the Kerala Art Lovers Association, organised a three-day celebration to honour the work of Kunhiraman. “Many have termed the sculpture obscene. But I believe nudity is the truth. Even after the protests and attacks, my work is still protected in the state. It helped me understand better the other aspects of my work, its significance and the importance given to art by people in the state,” said the sculptor at the inauguration of the event, which marked the sculpture’s 50th year and the sculptor’s 80th birthday. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan even called Yakshi a “symbol of freedom” at the event held at Kanakakunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram. The event included an exhibition by photographer Jithesh Damodar, who travelled with the artist for 13 years and captured what went into the making of Kunhiraman’s works.

Photos: Jithesh Damodar
Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
May 2018