Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Stuart Freedman: The Idol Makers

Photo © Stuart Freedman-All Rights Reserved

Photo © Stuart Freedman-All Rights Reserved

"In Western art, few sculptors -other than perhaps Donatello or Rodin- have achieved the pure essence of sensuality so spectacularly evoked by the Chola sculptors, or achieved such a sense of celebration of the divine beauty of the human body."- William Dalrymple, Nine Lives
Stuart Freedman is an award-winning British writer and photographer whose work was published in, amongst others, Life, Geo, Time, Der Spiegel, Newsweek and Paris Match covering stories from Albania to Afghanistan and from former Yugoslavia to Haiti. His work has been exhibited in Visa Pour L’Image at Perpignan, The Scoop Festival in Anjou, The Leica Gallery in Germany, The Association and the Spitz Galleries in London.

One of his many galleries is The Idol Makers, which documents the work of Radhakrishna Stpathy, an idol maker, a caster of statues, a master craftsman in Tamil Nadu, India. Stpathy mastered the ancient art of bronze casting which traces its origins from the Indus Valley civilization and achieved its apogee during the Chola period.

Chola period bronzes were created using the lost wax technique, which is also know by its French name, cire perdue, and is the process by which a bronze or brass is cast from an artist's sculpture.

Be sure to read Stuart's accompanying article on Stpathy, and the historical background to idol making in Tamil Nadu.

I've previously featured Stuart Freedman's work on Kathakali here.