An Installation Exhibition by Surendran Karthyayan

By the end of October Andrea, our younger daughter, had to once again return to her College to continue with her studies. So, a few last minutes errands had to be run and we set off to Ernakulam. Our shopping was done fairly quickly and we decided to go to the Durbar Hall Art Centre right in the centre of town; off M.G. Road (the main shopping mile!) to look at the latest Exhibitions.

Durbar Hall Art Centre has always been one of the most popular, if not the most important, place for established- , budding- and also new artists to show off their ‘labour of love’, their art work. And from here many have gone to greater heights, within India and abroad.

Anybody who is even slightly interested in the arts will assure that at least once a week they will go and see who is there and what is on display. Kerala (and in fact India) is blessed with many a great number of excellent painters et al. So, when tourists ask me ‘…what else from the obvious sightseeing can we do in Cochin…’ I invariably will send them to Durbar Hall Art Centre and frequently one of the paintings on display will be bought and given a new home somewhere in Europe or so.

Andrea and I were lucky to catch this exhibition before she left Cochin – the only sad thing was that the artist, Surendran Karthyayan, was not available that day to show us around and explain each one of his works since he had to travel back to Thiruvananthapuram (the capital of Kerala). So therefore now without further ado let us take you on a brief walk around the first exhibition hall, where he had so skillfully displayed his latest work, back-lit in supple soft colours which made his creations really stand out.


The medium this artist has chosen can be found in nearly every single house! Shovel, insulation wires, PVC pipes and connectors mostly used by Plumbers, machete, knives as used on the land by farmers.



And as he explained to me when I telephoned him later that day, “…when viewed in a different context even the most common objects that we use in our mundane life have a different meaning….”.

The following works go under the collective title of just “Tools”. Take the swirling multicoloured wire work for example – it signifies the panic inside a traumatised mind.

A tableau of small ‘parcels’ tied to the wire-backdrop caught our eyes – on closer inspection we found that each one contained one kind or another of various wood-chippings – different sizes, different forms, but all waste products of carpentry work in maybe constructing a house or furniture.



And Surendran Karthyayan explains further “….while making a house, each and every object counts. Even a small piece of stone is important for laying a strong foundation and if that piece falls out of place the whole construction will shatter. Same is the case with our life too….”

Ciao, Carina

(Disclaimer: The review is published on the basis of my visit to the exhibition and it is expressly stated that I have no dealings whatsoever with the artists or items displayed. CS)

(All pictures, except the photo of artist, are by CS/Manningtree Archive)


6 thoughts on “OLD TOOLS – NEW THOUGHTS

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