‘Art galleries don’t always like to tread on a different path, when it comes to unique exhibitions’ says sculptor Usha Ramachandran : 02/10/2015
For all those who are aspiring to become a ‘somebody’, there cannot be a better real-life example than that of 65-year-old Usha Ramachandran. She is modern-day proof of the fact that one need not attend classes at fancy art schools or havemultiple degrees tucked under their belt in order to become a celebrated artist. Not only this, Usha also mirrors one of life’s strongest truths— it is never too late to be what you want to be.
“I have not studied art specifically, other than what was taught at school level,” she says. “I did my higher secondary in various schools and finally graduated out of Avadi Airforce Central School.” Having majored in History, Ramachandran completed her MA in Social Work with a specialisation in Personnel Management from Madras School of Social work, and then got married before taking up a job. Since her husband belonged to the Indian Civil Services, Usha soon realised that she had to give her full attention to her family and children as he was always very busy. “I was always interested in art and used to paint at home in my spare time,” she says. “When my children were settled and husband had retired, I decided to go ahead and do what I have always desiredand give it my best shot.”
Today, Ramachandran is not only one of the finest sculptors in our country, but her style too, is innovative and fresh. Her work is as varied as the rustic surroundings and life in Kerala, which is her inspiration. Her sculptures, primarily figurative, beckon the viewer to breathe life into the narratives evoked by them. She specialises in creating sculptures made out bronze, and is displaying her latest collection “Where the green grass grows” today onwards at the Zinc Art Gallery in Santacruz (W)
Having started off with paintings, Usha held her first solo painting exhibition in her hometown of Trivandrum in 2009. Here, she met an art teacher frome Kendriya Vidyalaya, Mr. Satheesan, who agreed to teach her the basics of sculpture making. The following year, Ramachandran held her first exhibition of sculptures in Trivandrum, and was also awarded the Honourable Mention Award by the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi for one of her bronze sculptures. After that, there was no looking back. She has already showcased her work in Cochin, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi and now for the first time in Mumbai.
“I create sculptures mostly in bronze because I like to ' stretch ' my works,” says Ramachandran. “I love to balance the figures too and bronze as a medium, is best suitable for that. It lasts forever almost. Most of my works are in natural colour of the metal because in the South, people tend to prefer that however I do believe that painted metal at times can add more depth to the art work.”
Doling out advice to young aspiring artists, she says it is important to be passionate about this profession and to be mentally prepared to slog. “The industry is very competitive and the galleries don’t always show the guts to tread on a different path than the others,” she said. “It was always the individual artists who broke the mould and they found it difficult to get acceptance from the opinion makers for a long time. Artists have to persevere courageously, since most galleries generally flow with stream.”