“No, don’t take photos! It’s not finished yet,” cries Suh Sanghee as she shields her Ganesha clay sculpture. The Korean ceramic artist then proceeded to paint the elephant god’s unbroken tooth a shade of cerulean blue before stepping aside for a photograph.
For Suh Sanghee, the effect of five-week residency programme organised by InKo Centre at the art foundation has been profound. All her creations are inspired by the visit. Apart from the Ganesha sculpture, Sanghee also created a bust of Buddha, one modelled on a helper at the foundation who is popular for being friendly with stray dogs in the campus and a cow. “I usually focus on heads, and this time I wanted to create something inspired by my experience here. I made busts of Buddha and Ganesha because I came across several of their statues. Also, cows are everywhere here. So I created a bust of a cow as well,” she says with a laugh.
Hindu gods, especially Ganesha, were a source of inspiration for Hong Geunyoung too. “I came across idols of Ganesha and Ardhanarishvara and found the concept of half and half really intriguing,” she says.
Park Ja-il, however, is more interested in the colours that she witnessed on people around her. “I find it fascinating that people here wear bright colours and wear flowers in their hair,” says the 27-year-old. Her art is mostly a reflection of her feelings but she adds that whenever she thinks of India, the first thought is always of the windows here. “I like observing the windows here. Their elements and designs are quite different to what I am accustomed to,” says Ja-il.
Colours were an inspiration for Mijin Kim too. “The kind of colours that are used in ceramics is difficult to imagine. It’s the effect of the fire from the kilns. The fire and oxygen really create interesting colours. It’s almost like magic. For example, once we used red and put the clay creation into the kiln but what came out of it was a blue piece,” says Kim.
“It is amazing to see how connected people are to their culture here and it reflects in their art. I came across so many decorative temples. I was used to conceptual art, but here I came across more material forms of ceramic art,” she says adding that she would continue to work on the new techniques she has learned here once she returns to South Korea.
The works of these artists will be exhibited at Varija Gallery in Dakshina Chitra from February 27 to March 5.