LaxmaGoud_AdilWriterfrom The Hindu
by Zahra Amiruddin

Goud’s vivid colours and Writer’s clay and stoneware blend seamlessly to tell a story

I visit Pundole Art Gallery in Mumbai on a summer afternoon, and am surrounded by walls adorned with ceramic and clay sculptures, each of which exudes a different vibe. Some transport me over the dunes of the Sahara, others help me rappel down caves in Slovakia. Of course, none of the artworks has anything to do with either of the places but that’s the way I perceive it.

And that’s the message ceramic artist, painter, and architect Adil Writer wants to convey through the exhibition, ‘In Collaboration’, a joint show with recent Padma Shri awardee, Laxma Goud. The latter’s style is easily recognisable from his signature sketches of goats with large udders, ordinary people bejewelled with traditional tribal ornaments, and his raw and vivacious portrayal of erotica.

LaxmaGoud_AdilWriter1“Art and tradition are constantly travelling through spaces and generations. For example, the jewellery worn by ancient Peruvian tribes and by our own tribal communities have such similarity. So, when people study history and believe they are studying the past, it’s not just the past, it has seeped into the present; the inspiration doesn’t stop,” Goud says.

Writer’s and Goud’s collaboration blends seamlessly to create unique pieces that each tell a story.

The show displays books, figurines, boxes, and sculptures that bring together Goud’s two-dimensional paintings with Writer’s clay and stoneware ceramics that are gouged and carved into, glazed and fired at 1,300 degrees Celsius.

“The sculptures have no titles because it’s the way you interpret it. The thing about working with clay and firing it in a kiln is that there’s no control over the kind of patterns formed on each piece. Hence, while some of the pieces have a more ashy look, others formulate a completely different feel,” says Writer. Originally from Mumbai, the ceramic artist currently lives and works in Auroville (Puducherry), where he is a partner at Mandala Pottery. He creates his own line that’s inspired by his travels to places such as Australia, Japan, and Bali.

“Since I travel a lot, you’ll see my style characterised by different motifs from different places. For example, some of my pieces in the show are inspired by Abo art from Australia,” he says. Writer believes visuals and emotions experienced during travel stay with you permanently, and get manifested at the time of creating art. “It’s good because it saves you when you feel stuck… you don’t want to be stuck.”

Born in Nizampur, Andhra Pradesh, in 1940, Goud’s repertoire is wide, and includes painting, etching, pastels, gouache, sculpture (bronze, terracotta, etc) and glass. He is also known for his powerful line drawings and watercolours.

“Before Laxma visited my workspace in Auroville, I didn’t ever work with drawings on my ceramics, and that’s what’s great about this collaboration. You do things that you don’t conventionally do, you have to let go and let somebody else finish your piece,” says Writer.

LaxmaGoud_AdilWriter4A distinctive feature of this show is that visitors are encouraged to touch the artwork. They are urged to feel the curves, and appreciate the cracks formed in the pieces during the various stages of firing. “I like it when my work is seen as interactive. In fact, I’d love to add a sign that says ‘please touch’ in front of the pieces. There’s no point in appreciating art from a distance, you have to feel the cracks that we don’t see as a flaw but as the language of ceramics,” says Writer.

Apart from the understanding that the duo brings to each other’s art, they both describe themselves as workaholics. Writer explains, “While it usually takes artists two years to prepare for a show, we were done in a week since we both relate to the workaholic frame of mind.” Another quality that ties them is their eagerness to constantly know more. Goud believes the question ‘how’ has brought civilisations a long way towards understanding techniques and mastering the elements of art and architecture. “On my visit to Peru, I noticed how each block of their pyramids was carved into the other; things like that bring forth a passion within me to know more, learn more, question more,” he says.

What makes the art unique is the personality of each artist. And when it comes to stories etched in clay, Writer and Goud have just the tale to spin.


An avid traveller, Zahra Amiruddin
is interested in art, photography,
culture and history.

ON VIEW In Collaboration

11 a.m. – 6.30 p.m. (Monday to Friday)
till May 20

Pundole Art Gallery
Colaba, Mumbai