Iconic nude woman's statue in Kerala might get bronze plating
Kerala, known as God's own country, is also home to an iconic naked female statue, which is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the state. Yakshi, the 30-feet tall statue, facing the Western Ghats, has been lying in Kerala's Palakkad district for the past 50 years and its sculptor, Kanayi Kunhiraman, now wants to give it a bronze plating. Here's more on this.
Kunhiraman built the statue in 1969 in the Malampuzha Gardens, near the Malampuzha Dam, one of the well-known tourist spots of the area. The statue of the demigoddess shows her sitting in a voluptuous posture with her tresses unlocked, legs stretching forward and eyes half-opened. Art buffs have dubbed the statue an "artistic wonder" for its rare skillfulness, creativity, and bold expression.
Back in the 1960s, it was certainly not easy for 30-year-old Kunhiraman to work on the sculpture without facing societal backlash. Conservatives had condemned the statue as obscene and said it was against the state's morality and culture. In 1968, the Kerala Irrigation Department gave the right to Kunhiraman to construct the statue in the scenic garden, which now sees huge inflow of tourists.
"I had to face severe protest...against erecting a nude woman's statue in a public space. But I asked them what's wrong in placing a woman's statue in open nature if it can be placed in temples? Nature is my temple," Kunhiraman told media.
Kunhiraman also feels that art shouldn't be confined "within the four walls of a museum". "Nature should be the canvas and space for an artist," Kunhiraman noted. Reportedly, the artist was planning to build a Nandi statue but later came up with Yakshi, observing one of the hills in the valley, which he felt resembled a woman lying with her hair unlocked.
The eminent sculptor, now 81, said he never felt any nudity in the statue and obscenity lies in the eyes of the onlookers. "The post-modern movement advocates that any work of art should be the ones to influence and correct this society. I did Yakshi to give a shock to the conventional mindset and remove the concept of obscenity from their hearts," he said.
Now, Kunhiraman feels happy to know that over time, people have started to love Yakshi and accepted it as a landmark. His upcoming plans for the statue include covering it with bronze to help it withstand the test of time and to retain its posterity. "I have conveyed my wish to the government and awaiting a favorable reply from them," he said.