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Item Description:


Ceramic and mild steel


Height 24 x Width 23 5/8 in. (61 x 60 cm.)


Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai.


S. V. Vasudev, Pilloo Pochkhanawala, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, unpaginated, pl. 6, illustrated.

The current sculpture was produced by Pilloo in 1981, the same year as several other sculptures she created with the same striking juxtaposition of ceramic and steel. The works, variously titled Martyr, Assassination, Ophelia and Icon I are based around the theme of death, and were known collectively as her Masks-Death Series.

The artist explains 'It was once again the theatre which introduced me to a new working material. I attended a workshop on masks, movement and mime. Masks motivated me towards working out a 'death' series through masks. I had already made large drawings based on the theme, but was not quite sure how to translate them into the third dimension. Ceramics juxtaposed against steel was the answer. My masks capture the frozen moment prior to the cessation of struggle...

My early childhood was spent in Zanzibar. We lived on the seashore. I love the sea and yet was never comfortable with it, as every year at least one body was washed ashore, and by some strange coincidence, on my Birthday I joyfully rushed down the steps to be greeted by friends, but there at our door step lay a drowned corpse. Confronted by the grotesque sight, I was convinced it was an ill omen warning me that on my next birthday the body on the shore would be mine. In Ophelia after decades, this haunting image takes form - the open mouth and bloated lips convey the desperate struggle for breath.' (As quoted by Pilloo Pochkhanawala on the dust jacket of S. V. Vasudev, Pilloo Pochkhanawala, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.)


The colours of the ceramic faces are slightly paler than they appear in the catalogue illustrations. Dirt is visible within the joins of the metal armature, and is especially visible within the eye and mouth sockets of the two faces. Good overall condition.PLEASE NOTE: The two ceramic faces are attached to the metal armature with nuts and bolts and should the sculpture require shipping, these will be dismantled from the main body and packed separately.

About The Artist:



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