Art for the benefit of tortoises

Kurma, an art showcase, is raising funds for the upkeep of six pairs of tortoises at the Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad

Thanks to an art show titled Kurma, six pairs of tortoises in the Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, will soon receive funding for their upkeep. Among the tortoises that stand to gain from the art show are a pair of Galapagos tortoises aged above 120 and a pair of Aldabra tortoises that are over 90.

Hyderabad-based artist and curator Bolgum Nagesh Goud will be presenting Kurma, an exhibition of tortoise sculptures painted by 15 well-known Indian artists, at the State Gallery of Art, Hyderabad, on January 21 and 22: “We have already sold 12 of the sculptures to buyers who showed keen interest. We will be donating ₹2.5 to ₹3.5 lakh, once the sale is completed,” says Goud.

The artists who have painted the three-dimensional fibreglass tortoise sculptures measuring 27x13x16 inches are Jagdish Chinthala, Bose Krishnamachari, Laxman Aelay, Srinivas Reddy B, Subrata Das, Sachin Jaltare, Ramesh Gorjala, Vinita Dasgupta, Ganapati Hegde, Siddharth Shingade, Meenakshi Jha Banerjee, Bandana Kumari, Arpitha Reddy, Bhushaiah and Nagesh Goud.

In 2020, Goud curated the exhibition Gaja that showcased 25 painted sculptures of elephants. “We contributed ₹3.5 lakh from the sales proceeds for the upkeep of elephant Sita in the Nehru Zoological park,” he recalls.

The new show Kurma emerged as a follow-up to Gaja and thematically alludes to the second avatar of Lord Vishnu. “I asked my artist friends to paint the sculptures to the theme of the Samudra Manthan story from mythology,” says Goud.

While the sculpture he painted bears images of Kamadhenu, Airavata, Lakshmi, moon and the Kalpavriksha that emerged from the churning of the ocean, others artists have given their own interpretations to the theme. For instance, Ramesh Gorjala depicted Ashtalakshmi while Bose Krishnamachari and Jagdish Chintala who are known for their bold abstract touches, let their colours do the talking. Taking a cue from Nature, Ganapati Hegde’s painting depicts the 10 avatars through leaves.

Plans are afoot to open Kurma for viewing at the State Gallery of Art on January 21 and 22, from 12 noon to 6 p.m., adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. In addition, the exhibits can be viewed on Nagesh Goud’s Facebook and Instagram accounts from January 21.

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