As Onam approaches artisans replace custom this yr, from utilizing extra eco-friendly materials to sculpting Mahabali with a six pack

As Onam approaches artisans replace custom this yr, from utilizing extra eco-friendly materials to sculpting Mahabali with a six pack

A six-foot excessive determine of King Mahabali stands tall in a big shed in Kaloor. The mythological King of Kerala is ready to be dispatched to a shopping center the place his presence will usher within the spirit of Onam. Another good-to-go Mahabali, is being carried by two bearers to a truck. An artisan is engrossed chiseling a polyfoam determine of a pulikali dancer, whereas chenda gamers and Thiruvathira figures await remaining sculpting. Long, brilliant orange dragonflies dangle from worn out pipes, and a row of yellow, foam, sunflowers too are prepared for dispatch.

Walking by the shed of Ameya Events means skirting round reams of polyfoam, tins of adhesive, stacks of steel frames and corrugated sheets, luggage of smiley rubber balls and pails of enamel paints and emulsions. A odor of resin adhesive pervades the air and a Malayalam track from an artist’s cellphone binds the six males who’re racing towards time to finish Onam décor orders from massive shops and malls within the metropolis.

“The artists have been working day and evening,” says Vipin KM who began the agency 15 years in the past. “We have made six Mahabalis up to now and plenty of pulikali and Thiruvathira dancers.” Other Onam associated characters and motifs of their stock are figures of Vamana, snake boats, the standard Kerala meal or sadya, upperi (banana chips), banana, pookalam(flower carpet), Theyyam and Kathakali masks. Most of the supermarkets, shops and malls need the Onam decor to be up earlier than Atham(August 30).

Biju PD, “our essential artist”, (as Vipin says) is self-taught. He has been making the figures for the previous 12 years and has seen changenot solely in supplies used but additionally in design.

“The Mahabali is now not potbellied. We now make him muscular,” he says. Vipin provides that the “cartoon look” of Mahabali that was frequent a decade in the past, is now not accepted. “The new technology desires a determine with six packs. Ours is six toes tall and effectively constructed.”

New designs

Changes in supplies embrace Thermocol giving option to polyfoam, which is sturdier and doesn’t break simply. “It can be environment-friendly,” says Vipin. Earlier Plaster of Paris was generally used however is changed by fibre. “We additionally use coir, bamboo, corrugated board, jute and rubber foam. Resin used on canvas or with fibre turns into a tough and sturdy materials,” he says.

Increased consciousness of the atmosphere sees figures are saved away and reused. All waste from the craft is taken away by recyclers from Chennai.

Art administrators Sudhir Tripunithara and Ambili Joseph create the settings with designer Prateesh Kumar. Depending on the consumer’s requirement, they take images of the placement to create the design. Once the scene is authorized, work begins. “Lulu Mall needed 50 Kathakali faces hanging within the lobby whereas Chennai Silks needed a Mahabali seated on a throne with pulikali and Thiruvathira dancers on both aspect and a chenda melam gamers within the centre, at their entrance,” says Vipin.

Onam, Diwali, Christmas, Pongal and Vishu are busy occasions for artists who’re in any other case engaged in making characters and figures for weddings and conferences. Earlier within the yr they made a four-foot excessive Prudential Cup for a operate felicitating the cricketers who received the 1983 World Cup once they visited town. The trophy stands with pleasure in Vipin’s workplace.

He categorically says they don’t make cinema décor and stick primarily to festivals and occasions.

What is distinctive about out of doors public artwork, says Vipin is that it must be massive scale and exaggerated.  He is explicit, nevertheless, that it doesn’t look vulgar. Do these handmade figures discover a place of their properties? “No, says Sudheer, “aside from a flower or a butterfly.”

The artists went with out work in the course of the two years of COVID-19. Last yr, when Onam celebrations have been but to renew as earlier than, the artists created the determine of a masked and gloved Vamana, avatar of Lord Vishnu, pushing away the terrifying coronavirus that had troubled the folks of his kingdom. “The set up grew to become an enormous hit because it informed the story of Onam within the present context,” says Vipin with amusing. “These figures are all a couple of celebration and so humour is an enormous half of the artwork,” he says seeing off a Mahabali that’s making his option to the Cochin International Airport the place he’ll unfold the enjoyment of abundance of Onam.  

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