The clay of interpretation 

Artist Vinod Daroz’s latest works capture his contemplative journey with ceramics throughout his career 
Benevolence’ is sculptor Vinod Daroz’s epiphany through the exploration of art
Benevolence’ is sculptor Vinod Daroz’s epiphany through the exploration of art

Benevolence’ is sculptor Vinod Daroz’s epiphany through the exploration of art. He borrows from the eternal greats, and inscribes quotations by the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dali, MF Husain, Amrita Sher-Gil, Atul Dodiya and Bharti Kher on ceramic bars to establish why art is indispensable to society. The gold-coated trapezoids are held in place by hand-shaped wall-mounted sculptures. “These relics, cradled in the human hand, symbolise the weight and significance of profound insights shared by these visionary artists throughout history,” says Daroz.

Vinod Daroz

Kristine Michale, the curator of Immersive Infinities, where the flamboyant, yet introspective piece was exhibited, says the show intended to tap into “an emotional memory or truth—both literally and metaphorically”. All of Daroz’s works seem to be tailor-made to fit the theme. Take, for instance, the Nurturing series. It features nine similar hand-shaped and colourfully glazed pieces on the walls. Arranged in a horizontal row, each of the open palms clutches an ornate egg. A closer look reveals motifs of pupae, butterflies, flowers, pollen—all representative of the “male and female regenerative organs”. The piece, says the Charles Wallace fellow, reiterates the “underlying notions of union”. The origins of the theme, recurrent throughout Daroz’s expression, can be traced back to his visit to Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu about 15 years ago. 

“I was inspired by the murals and sculptures there, including those which combine the male and female forms. I decided to simplify the idea and convey my thoughts through them,” he says.  Daroz began his career as a student of sculpture at Baroda’s MS University. His identity as a ceramic artist, however, was cast only several years later. “I never thought I would do this. Ceramics was an optional subject in college. I would only attend the classes because working at the potter’s wheel was meditative. It was like a stress-buster for me,” he says. He was fascinated with the range of colours that could be expressed through the medium. Doing his MFA in Ceramic Sculpture was a natural progression.

The contemplative effect clay evoked in him years ago led to subsequent visits to various South Indian temples and gradually became integral to his work. The hand motif in another installation, titled Reverence, is an example of this transition. The palms hold an object that resembles a hibiscus flower, reimagining the process of paying obeisance in sacred rituals. Daroz’s representation though is more philosophical than religious. “It symbolises the act of giving, whether it is knowledge, respect or anything else,” he reveals. Daroz is a man of his art, inspired by the soul of the earth’s tabula rasa.

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