Kochi: It's an endless array of tiny ceramic sculptures that welcomes the visitors to one of the exhibition spaces of Kochi Muziris Biennale in Fort Kochi's Pepper House. The cute figurines, some of them resembling toy-like forms and some of them looking like hand-held electronic gadgets form part of the ceramic installation titled ‘Metropolis’ created by the London-based ceramicist of Indian origins, Lubna Chowdhary.
And almost unbelievable is the fact that she took 26 long years to complete this single installation. She had started creating these figurines way back in 1991, when she was 26 years of age. The work was finally completed in 2017. ‘Metropolis’ contains 1000 ceramic figurines, to be precise.
Lubna Chowdhary, who was born in Tansania, had later migrated to the UK. After graduating from Manchester University, she had done her post graduation in Ceramic Art from Royal School of Art, London. She was shortlisted for the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize in 2001. ‘Metropolis’ was first exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Made up of ‘abstracted towers, monuments and other less defined forms,’ Metropolis engages each viewer in different ways. The viewers are free to make their own connections with the figurines. Lubna Chowdhary points out that though some of the figurines may resemble each other somewhat, a closer inspection would reveal the differences. It’s a fantasy land, carved out of the ceramic figurines.
She added that people were also similar often, appearing similar from a distance. The disparities are revealed only on a closer context.