For noted Indian sculptor and painter, Balan Nambiar, his roots in Kannapuram village in Cannanore, Kerala, have flowered into an obsession that has borne rich fruit. For the past 15 years Nambiar has not only been linking the ancient with the modern through his symbolic works of art, but has,For noted Indian sculptor and painter, Balan Nambiar, his roots in Kannapuram village in Cannanore, Kerala, have flowered into an obsession that has borne rich fruit. For the past 15 years Nambiar has not only been linking the ancient with the modern through his symbolic works of art, but has also been delving deeply into the religious tradition of the west coast.Last fortnight, in recognition of his work, the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund awarded him the prestigious Nehru Fellowship to continue his research on “ritual art forms of the west coast.” Said a happy Nambiar in Bangalore, where he stays in a one-bedroomed flat with his Italian wife, Eva: “I would like to compile an encyclopaedia on this subject. It is a totally unexplored form of art.”Close-up of a Teyyam pose and (left) Nambiar: All-round performanceApart from documenting the innumerable religious rituals in his owndistrict and in neighbouring Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka, Nambiar hastaken more than 1,500 pictures of them. His 50-odd sculptures and morethan 100 paintings have been directly influenced by these rituals andare interpretations of symbols using contemporary art norms.Nambiar’s work reflects the vibrant colours and rhythmic forms of these unique rituals performed to worship the gods and goddesses. Held after the harvest season, these rituals are performed by dancers with resplendent headgear, some up to 45 feet high. While in Kerala these ritual dances are called teyyams (gods), in Karnataka it is identified as bhutas (spirits). These are unique theatrical performances in which the performer is not only a priest with occult powers but also a dancer, musician, choreographer and actor. He is also well-versed in the elaborate craft, decoration and painting that go into the making of these ritual performing arts.advertisementEarly Influences: Held mostly in village shrines, the rituals have vibrant music to orchestrate the performance of tribal priests and oracles, decked in colourful costumes and headgear, who assume the roles of gods and goddesses. In an almost trance-like state they identify themselves with the deity and walk on fire, strike themselves with swords, scream prophecies and bless the village folk. Nambiar has classified these performances into 10 divisions based on themes such as worshipping forms connected with hunting, snake worship, exorcising spirits, hero worship, and placating gods and goddesses.The 45-year-old Nambiar, sporting a flowing beard to offset his receding hairline, has associated with these sights from his childhood. In his own house shrine in Kannapuram, teyyams were performed regularly. “My works of art recreate a world based on my childhood memories of these performances,” says Nambiar.Although a painter from his childhood, Nambiar joined the Indian Railways as a draftsman before throwing up his job in 1967 to immerse himself fully in his art. After obtaining a diploma in sculpture from the College of Arts and Crafts, Madras, in 1971 he moved to Bangalore, which he now uses as a base.Apart from designing pavilions and executing murals, Nambiar has been exhibiting his work in a series of international exhibitions, his latest being the Venice Biennale in September last, in which he was the only Indian to participate. Last year he won the national award for sculpture. Most of his paintings and sculptures are influenced by the mother goddess, Shakthi, who is an important deity in the religious rituals. While his bronze sculptures seem to be, as one critic puts it: “a creation emanating from nature itself”, his paintings with clear bright colours signify the magnificence of these rituals. It is as Nambiar puts it: “My homage to these great traditional artists.”
Let’s go ahead and give Broadway favorite Christopher Jackson the key to the city after getting through this truly bizarre local news segment. Hamilton’s George Washington stopped by the Vegas buffet of crazy that is Fox’s Good Day New York, and he remained remarkably cool as Greg Kelly and Rosanna Scotto did the following:1. Conduct the interview while wearing colonial garb2. Consistently interrupt him3. Imply that the general public was apprehensive about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s abilities to write a hip-hop musical4. Genuinely not seem to understand how a hip-hop musical about American history could be something other than “mockery”5. Sign off with a freestyle rap joking about drive-by shootingsAgain, we can’t stress enough how well Jackson conducted himself in spite of all this. Later, he took to Twitter to write, “That’s life in the damn circus… #notsurprised #speechless.” Take a look at the seven-minute (?!) segment below if you can—if only for Jackson’s comments on the show and his impressively unfazed demeanor. Hamilton is currently playing the Richard Rodgers Theatre. from $149.00 Related Shows Star Files View Comments Christopher Jackson Hamilton
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