Once Facing Stiff Opposition, Iconic Nude Statue Of Yakshi In Kerala To Get A Facelift
- IWB Post
- February 11, 2019
When sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman started the work of “Yakshi” during the late 1960s in Kerala, he faced stiff opposition from many people who reserved a conservative mindset against the statue. Why? Because ìt’s a gigantic statue of a nude woman which they found obscene and against the state’s morality and culture.
This statue is located in the Malampuzha gardens of Palakkad district, facing the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats. The statue of “Yakshi” is of a voluptuous naked woman, with eyes half-opened, sitting with open hair and legs stretching forward. Yakshi, demigoddess in local parlance, today is one of the celebrated sculptures of the state and is known for its creativity and bold expression.
The statue is all set to receive a facelift as it completes 50 years of construction but as 81-year-old Kunhiraman recalls, the statue didn’t always receive the praise it does now.
“Yakshi is the first such bold attempt to bring the sculptures of women out of the walls of temples. So far, women sculptures could be seen on the temple walls only,” Kunhiraman said, adding that he believes that artworks shouldn’t be depicted in museums.
“Art is for people… it is not to be confined within the four walls of museums. Nature should be the canvas and space for an artist. He should construct his work in nature,” Kunhiraman said.
In the late 1960s, when he had carved the sculpture, he had faced severe protest for “erecting the statue of a nude woman in a public space.”
“But, I asked them what is wrong in placing a woman’s statue in open nature if it can be placed in temples? Nature is my temple,” he said. “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 very concept of obscenity from their heart. But, I am so happy to see that after those initial objections, people have started to love Yakshi in course of time and accept it as a landmark one.”
H/T: Huffington Post