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Fusion of ceramics and glass artistry

With their shared appreciation for fire’s transformative power, artistes Kaveri Bharath and Radhika Krish weave their narratives with elements of nature, nurture, and nostalgia to create a captivating exhibition of creativity

Fusion of ceramics and glass artistry

(Clockwise) Kaveri and Radhika; Ceramics creation by Kaveri and Glass artwork by Radhika

CHENNAI: Ceramic artiste Kaveri Bharath and glass artiste Radhika Krish have been long-time acquaintances, having initially met at Oval Crew in Neelankarai under the guidance of Yohannan John. Their discussions often revolved around life, work, and shared passions. However, it wasn’t until 2023 that they decided to collaborate on a joint exhibition in the city. Titled Kindred Fire: Shared Stories, the exhibition focuses on the transformative power of fire in shaping their creations. Through firing, fusing, vitrifying, and melting materials, they express their journeys, reflecting the essence of their lives.

From transparent paper planes caught in midflight to small whimsical whistles growing on a tree; from pregnant belly forms holding the impression and memories of the child within to myriad hues of broken and melted bangles that question superstitions - this exhibition is but a glimpse into the process, playfulness, and ponderings of Kaveri and Radhika.

Ceramics creation by Kaveri and Glass artwork by Radhika

“Our works are deeply influenced by the diverse facets of our identities as artistes, women, wives, mothers, feminists, and self-proclaimed ‘safe pyromaniacs’. Both ceramics and glass require exposure to fire, demanding a profound understanding and appreciation of its nature. As artistes working with these mediums, we must understand the materials and their chemistry, using our imagination to manifest our visions. Fire serves as the common thread binding glass and ceramics, necessitating a close familiarity with its properties. Hence, our connection to fire extends beyond our shared medium; it resonates with our very essence,” explains Kaveri, a pioneer in the city’s studio pottery scene.

The duo has showcased pieces inspired by their journeys and personal experiences. “For instance, I’ve developed an installation series, titled Bun in the Oven, where I’ve captured impressions of my pregnant belly using ceramics. Additionally, I’ve created a series of pencil sketches depicting the six individuals with whom I initially delved into ceramics and learned the art of firing kilns in Puducherry,” Kaveri elaborates.

Radhika, founder of Chennai’s Goli Soda Glass Studio, recalls how during a conversation in 2023, the idea to collaborate with Kaveri struck them. “As Kaveri mentioned, the fire brought us together, sharing similar stories. As moms, we nurture and draw inspiration from nature and nostalgia. It’s a blend of personal and professional journeys, unified yet unique,” Radhika chips in.

Nature, nurture, and nostalgia are the sources of inspiration for Radhika’s creativity. “Living alongside Chennai’s expansive coastline, the ocean often ignites my imagination. At the same time, the sight of empty and broken bottles left behind is a constant reminder to use available materials conscientiously, a deliberate choice aimed at ensuring the sustainability of my artistic practice.” As a mother of four, Radhika finds that the interplay between nature and nurture deeply influences her life. “Having experienced Indian and American cultures, nostalgia adds another layer to my creative reservoir.”

In addition to the three Ns, Radhika allows selected glass objects to influence her art. “For instance, discarded bottles prompt reflections on nature and human impact, inspiring pieces with nature themes,” she explains. “Glass bangles, rich in cultural significance, serve as a medium for me to represent personal journeys. By breaking, melting, and reshaping them, I metaphorically explore the process of undoing societal conditioning and reclaiming individual choice,” she elaborates. The exhibition opened last weekend at The Gallery, InKo Centre, and is on view till March 19.

Merin James
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