To home page

Annual Display in Baroda »


Annual Display in Shantiniketan »




  • G.Reghu 2
  • G.Reghu 3
  • G.Reghu 4
  • G.Reghu
  • G.Reghu 5
Thumbnail panels:
Now Loading

Gods of the Streets

G.Reghu’s name is synonymous with terracotta sculptures. In a recent show held at Arushi Gallery, Delhi he presented a set of Bronze sculptures along with his terracotta works. correspondent reviews his new works.

Presented by Arushi Arts Gallery, New Delhi, ‘Gods of the Streets’, a solo show of sculptures by G.Reghu is a welcoming change in the scene of Indian contemporary sculptures. Reghu, who is known for his terracotta sculptures, in this show, has attempted his hands at the medium of bronze also. However, at the outset itself, one should say that these bronze sculptures do not differ much from his terracotta sculptures, in terms of style and figuration. Should it be seen as a shortcoming of the artist or should it be viewed as the artist’s ideological adherence to his themes and philosophy despite the change of medium? I would like to go by the latter view as Reghu has always remained closer to his subjects, ever since he found out the possibilities of terracotta/ceramics during 1980s.

“Earth is my medium and my subjects too are related to earth,” says Reghu. An alumnus of Trivandrum Fine Arts College, Reghu came to Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal in late eighties. Obviously, he came with the baggage of an art language which was predominantly expressionistic. Though, Reghu, over a period of time has shed a lot of roughness from his expressionism, the earthiness of his language maintains the same verve. Aptly titled, ‘Gods of the Streets’, the latest exhibition also has a very refined expressionist language, which has by now become the signature style of G.Reghu.

With their bulging eyes, thick lips, and round faces, a host of human heads gazes at the onlooker from the pedestals. They look anxious but clever, uncomfortable but ready to throw a challenge, precarious but sure about their internal strength. They are the portraits from the inner streets of Reghu’s mind. They have been there ever since he conceptualized the subaltern in him through the medium of terracotta. Time and again they have appeared, slowly shedding the hagiographical details and assuming the universality of those, who are definitely deprived of equal opportunities, but prepared to thwart the common logic from their marginal existence. They claim their space within the sanitized spaces of the galleries and assert their existential monumentality by engaging the viewer in a web of defiant gaze.

Those art historians who champion the cause of the subaltern/other, so far have not included the works of Reghu in their discourse. This leads us to a pertinent question. Should the subaltern and the other be identified with genetics? Does the artist’s belongingness to a subaltern class/caste determine the authenticity of his aesthetics? I feel that the art historians should be problematizing this issue by taking in the works of artists like Reghu, into their theoretical deliberations.

Reghu does not debate his theoretical position. As seen in his works, he maintains a very earthy personality. He projects himself as a worker, who touches clay with his hands and shapes it without the mediation of too many tools. Though we include ceramic and terracotta into the genre of decorative art, Reghu’s works defy the logic of decorativeness from within the production-consumption relations of terracotta and ceramics. At this moment of our market euphoria, there seems to be a compulsion even for this artist to try out his hand at a medium (bronze) that is more ‘permanent’. Permanency is not a problem. However, I believe that despite the change in medium Reghu’s works would be understood, in the coming days from their earthy origins.


Home About us Contact