She is the protective goddess of the Kochi royal family. For years, though, the abode of Pazhayannur Bhagavati in the vicinity of the Dutch Palace was calling out for restoration.
Two years ago, the premises caught the attention of Nandakumar PK. The Pune-based artist has given the 14th century location a new face, turning the barren land into fertile soil.
The filth-ridden pond has been cleaned and a bed sits on the banks, akin to a diving board. There is a narrow stepped boundary leading into the water body.
“The bed is a metaphor for the nights I lost thinking about the sorry state of the pond,” says the artist. In the last Kochi-Muziris Biennale, he had decked a dining hall with a chandelier in crystals and copper; this year, he is using the space to display his sculptures — from old objects collected from the vicinity to stones carved in the shape of a pond and sculptures inspired by Khajuraho.
“These stones were collected from old, broken houses in Pune; so here, too, there is recycling, the emphasis is on the need to restore,” says the 48-year-old, who has also involved the local community.
If some contributed with the renovation, local artists have designed kalamezhuthu (traditional rangoli) on the floor and several others have been invited to participate in workshops conducted by Nandakumar.