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Vijay from Poetry in Stone – Part 3

30 April 2011 One Comment

Hi All,

Here is the last & final part of the interview with Mr. Vijay from Poetry in Stone. The earlier parts can be found here – Part 1 & Part 2.

Me: Sundar Rajan G S
VJ: Vijay, Founder – Poetry in Stone


Me: Have you thought about presenting this idea in forums as lectures.. or better still, why not a book.. Can you elaborate.. Have you attempted to work with public authorities to restore some of these arts?

VJ: As we discussed earlier, the main objective of this effort is to showcase the beauty of art to early readers. Every year, we try to organise talks and am thankful for friends to have made this almost a bi annual event in Coimbatore under the auspices of the Vanavarayar Foundation. Have done similar in chennai and Singapore. We also target school children and give them talks tuned to their likes which have become a great hit. We have programs on Chola Stone art, Pallava stone art, Evolution of south india temple architecture, Temple Art for school children, Mural traditions of south India, Cast for Eternity (on chola bronzes), Periapuranam in Stone (life stories of the Nayanmars in stone to the accompaniment of Oduvars singing the relevant verses).

We also have a Youtube Channel where we put up these talks – http://www.youtube.com/user/poetryinstone

We would like to do more such and working with our Tech team to deliver such over the net via Webcast.

On the ground renovation is an ongoing affair and we have good tie ups with organisations such as REACH foundation which did the renovation for the Pallava temple in Utiramerur
http://www.poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2010/01/06/rising-up-majestically-from-ruins-thanking-all-patrons.html

We also work with renowned artists to recreate lost works of art. This is one of the works from Kanchi Kailasantha.
http://www.poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2010/09/23/recreating-a-lost-treasure-somaskanda-paintings-of-kanchi-kailasanatha-part-1.html.

Many friends have asked similarly on a book. My take has been that many scholars have published well researched works. These books are found in many libraries with not many takers. we would like to fill the gap between a early reader who would graduate to these scholarly works. In that regard, we might at best bring out a sculpture for dummies kind of work. But the cost aspects to bring out a good coffee table book are enormous and we would necessarily need sponsors. Instead, the thought is to maybe take a leaf out of Kalki and bring out a historic fiction interlaced with sculpture etc in English.

Me: Is sculpting a lost art today? Are there any attempts made to restore this art.. in terms of teaching the skills to the new generation..

VJ: Sculpting in its original form is still practised by a few families – the silpa tradition is a very closely guarded tradition and their commissions are going down as well. Its is indeed a sad state, since we have so many thousand sites which can benefit from proper restoration, but are either left to rot or raped in the name of renovation. Temples were designed to be regularly restored, infact once every 12 years. If we had kept to this tradition, the artists would have been kept alive as would have their art form.

Me: True, I can understand the pain in your words. But how can common man contribute to the art.. What are your suggestions & thoughts..

The first contribution is to stop and watch these beauties. The greatest insult we can heap on them is to ignore them. We just go straight inside the temple, place our requests, have prasadam and return. If we stop to see them, we will learn to appreciate their beauty. If we see their beauty, we will love them and if we love them, we will not allow them to be destroyed.

For the site, we welcome questions from readers – if they come across a peculiar sculpture, to take photos and send us. Similarly, when they go visiting sites, if they can get the GPS co ordinates ( especially caves or rare temples), take a photo (without themselves /family members) – and send us. In the Digital era, this is practically free and we will ack each photo and when used credit the users name and if he has a photo sharing site the link to it.

We are also in need for quality artists to help with more recreation and illustration works.

Me: How else can we contribute to your effort..

VJ: Sure, Please do recommend the site to your friends and spread the word around. Leave comments as they defintely help to urge us on and share photos of your visits with us.

Me: Sure Vijay! Thank you very much for your time. Hope you enjoyed this interview with Coffee With Sundar, as much as we did! Thanks once again!

VJ: Thank you very much.


Readers, hope you enjoyed this edition of Coffee With Experts. Please drop a comment if you want to get in touch with Mr. Vijay. In the mean time, check out the previous edition with Charulatha Mani – Carnatic Music Singer.

Stay tuned as we search for many more role models!

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  • Iniyaal said:

    I have been an avid follower of Poetry in Stone… They have brought out so much of inspiration and information that should be passed down for generations to come. Happy to read this interview of Mr.Vijay. Wishing Poetry in Stone many more fruitful years.