- Museum number
'Kathakali dancers, Cochin'; crowd of figures in foreground, dancers and drummers on stage at r, a figure in costume standing at left, other figures sitting on the ground, buildings behind. 1988
Coloured chalks; on two conjoined sheets
- Production date
Height: 245 millimetres
Width: 533 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The artist wrote to Frances Carey on 28/2/89 to explain the background to 1989-5-13-84, 85 and 86. He writes "In the winter of 1987-8, I spent 3 months based in Ahemedabad, India, (where I was given a house and studio). Then, in mid-December, I set off south, with Judith, on a two-week lecture tour, beginning in Cochin. I'd long been attracted to the Keralan dance-drama, KATHAKALI, with its noisy and grotesque spectacle. (Troupes came to London in the sixties; and I'd also seen them on earlier visits to India).
At the Malabar hotel, our room opened breathtakingly onto the ocean. The first day, I lay on the bed and looked through my 'monocular' (I have slightly divergent eyes, so binoculars are unsatisfatory). My left eye plunged me close to the island opposite; but there was still peripheral vision from my right, and I could see Judith over by the window. Soon I got up, and, using the wooden cupboard as my easel, set up a piece of grey hand-made paper for a pastel. The image grew through the four days of our stay; and I continued to work on it back in Ahemdabad, in January.
I'd already drawn Kathakali dancers at Evnakulam; but I learnt on the final day, there'd be a performance that evening, all through the night, at the Mattancherri temple. We arranged to stay one more night; and found seats on the tarpaulin, before the crowd gathered. Soon it became an astonishing scene. I kept on drawing until almost midnight. (The present one shows a corner of the Mattancherri palace, the temple, a tower of loudspeakers, and one side of the stage). In the New Year, installed in a beach-hotel near Tuirandrum (where I was lecturing) I set out to recreate this experience in another pastel. Its division makes explicit the tension of my wide angle of vision, incorporating dancers and audience as I scan between them".
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number