Two Kerala women sculptors at NGMA DELHI

Suneetha Kodamana and Merlin Moli are two Kerala women sculptors at the Women’s Show Yatra Nariyasthu at NGMA.

Suneetha Kodamana’s Untitled 2015 figure brings back images of European Masters-her handling of the human figure makes me think of the brilliant Amadeo Modgiliani as well as Alberto Giacometi.But she goes beyond to create a feminine form that spells both fervour and finesse and expression and elegance.

Placed in an alcove next to the Arpita Singh wall this sculpture has about it an echo that traverses many generations. This human form is both a young woman as well as an adolescent. This form is Suneetha herself because she is petite and full of elegance. Gazing at it these few days I asked her to send in a few lines about her thought process. At the basis of Suneetha’s sculptural vision is the articulation of an innate concept she has held a resonance with, that of a sublime, timeless and all-encompassing entity.

Suneetha Kodamana’s Untitled 2015 ,Bronze

She says: “ My sculptures are a series on the theme called “Biographical Silhouette. ”

It is a reflections of what I see and what I hear and what I experience in my life and my own perspective. My works depicts my individual journey of my womanhood turn between feelings of hopefulness hopelessness, sorrow and joy, life and death and love and regrets that leaves a biographical Silhouette that marks my existence in this world.”

This mesmeric, portrait-like visage of the feminine form straddles several defining characteristics.Perhaps it is its stillness in solitude that enchants and enraptures one into a silence.Reflective of a myriad of different sources and influences all coming to bear upon the artist Suneetha at this time, the origin of each of these surprisingly well-blended but disparate features of the slim torso and legs is also quite specific and indeed sublime.This is a blend of primitivism and modern art.

It is a sculpture with a strong, meditative presence and an almost otherworldly sense of timelessness and calm. Encountering it for the past week has affected me deeply. And for some days afterwards I found myself under the hallucination of watching women and girls in the streets of India Gate and on the roads home who might have been perfect models for Suneetha.

Marylin Monroe at NGMA

Small quaint and curious-Merlin Moli’s Object of Desire , a fibre glass sculpture of Marilyn Monroe sits on a pedestal looking back at us. She has re -created the iconic subway scene on the raft of a subway with the breeze lifting her billowing skirt from the 1955 film Seven Year Itch.The silver toned Monroe with her scarlet lipstick can still catch the human gaze.

Merlin Moli’s Object of Desire 2018 ,( Fibre Glass -hologrammed Marylin Monroe)

Monroe mesmerized a crowd of lucky onlookers while her white dress blew suggestively above her knees — and sometimes over her head. It was 1954, and the director Billy Wilder was filming a scene of the film The Seven Year Itch on Lexington Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Street in New York City. In the script, Monroe and co-star Tom Ewell exit a movie theater and a breeze from the subway passing below lifts Monroe’s skirt. Instead of rushing to cover her legs, as any decent woman of that era would have, Monroe exclaims, “Isn’t it delicious?”

Even if we have not seen the film, we have seen the photographs. The whole world has for decades, although not everyone knows the story behind the photographs or the name of the photographer who had the “flying skirt” idea in the first place. Photographer Sam Shaw, shot the image of the blonde bombshell.

This sculpture does more than work on memory, history and nostalgia.Its a statement about gender driven advances in a world that worships the calendar girl portrait.

Merlin adds her reflections to this brilliant sculpture:

“ She is the most over rated icon of timeless womanhood. Till today her fashon statements are relevant and followed by many women all over the world The red carpet, red lipstick and the self designed dresses became part of history.

Beyond the myth and the goddess she is the most humane person as well as daring spirit to reveal the child abuser in her life. Being on the top she was both manipulated and misunderstood. But she paved a special path that no one can walk at least for another century.

The question that remains is : How do we rate a woman? Her sexuality got more importance than her other qualities. Here is where history goes wrong- perhaps with all women in flashback there is an avalanche of opinions that hang. The spectrum is large and swings from one extreme to another. She could be rated as anything from a goddess to a nobody. Just as a deity is worshiped. Or thrown out after the end of the celebrations.”

So many years later, Marilyn’s powerful pose continues to captivate as we mull over the role of a gorgeous woman in the age of Me Too-and think that women are more than mere objects of desire-they are flesh and blood with a beating heart.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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