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Ushas

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Year: 
1986
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
20' x 8'

Yayati is a monumental installation of painting and sculpture conceived as a temple to the epic hero who probed the world of sensuality. The twelve panel painting of sixty feet length and eight feet breadth is spread over three sides, with a group of thirteen bronze figures in the centre. The figures are placed on an etched zinc base of four feet by four feet diameter. The bronzes are twelve inches in height, each mounted on a brass pedestal with four oil lamps. The painting has three sections – Ushas, Madhyanha, and Sandhya. The group of sculptures is titled Ratri (Text taken from ‘Art of the Muralist’ written by Rupika Chawla)

Conceptually derived from a story of the same name from the Indian epic Mahabharata, Ramachandran’s Yayati serves as a metaphor for human frailty and weaknesses. This mural-installation took more than four years to complete. It was executed during a dark period of the artist’s life when he experienced serious vision problems.

Rupika Chawla is a conservator of paintings and art critic who curated the Ramachandran retrospective at National Gallery of Modern Art and is the author of two extensive studies on the artist ('A Ramachandran: Art of the Muralist' and 'Icons of the Raw Earth'). She has been writing regularly on contemporary Indian art and between 2001 and 2004, wrote a column on it in the Indian Express newspaper. Her forthcoming book is titled 'Raja Ravi Varma: Life and Times in Colonial India', a detailed and authoritative study on Ravi Varma and his art (Mapin and Grantha Publication, 2008).