Mumbai International airport

INDIA SEAMLESS



DESMOND LAZARO AND RAMESH KULKAR ON THE SLOTWALL
MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ART PROJECT 2012/13
TITLE: ‘Gopuram – Gods and Goddesses of south India’

This commissioned project for the new International Airport Mumbai, started over one year ago and I am collaborating with Bangalore-based artist Ramesh Kalkur, Dean of the Foundation Studies programme at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. Commissioned by designer and scenographer Rajeev Sethi, the project involves an artwork spanning eighty feet by fifty feet, and attempts to represent “South India.”

The painted sculptural installation uses natural pigments, Kerela wood-carving and a re-imagining of the Tangore painting tradition and is scheduled to be installed by October 2013.

Our interpretation of the brief


South Indian temples are based on the principal of ‘awe and reverence’ hence the pilgrim is confronted by loud imagery which eventually fades as one enters the sanctorum which is often bare and empty consisting of a single black lingum.  “The journey symbolizes one’s own spiritual aspirations – from outside to the inner world. Our work played with the idea by reversing the outer and inner spaces of a temple. The Gods literally fly off the Gopuram and the viewer sees empty silhouettes of where the Gods should be,” says Desmond. He calls it a ‘Lila’, in other words it’s a play, which divides the space into upper (heavenly) and lower (earthly) sections. “Gods, ordinary people, and fragments of daily south Indian life inhabit each. Behind the Gods – Kerala truck carving – the modern approach to decoration – takes them from sacred to secular and back,” says Ramesh.