The inspiration for these bronze sculptures is sparked by the everyday scenes of life, particularly those from the artist's childhood.
This is evident in sculptures such as the acclaimed ‘The Little Laundress', which won Usha Ramachandran an award from the Kerala Lalithakala Academy. The Little Laundress is among the exhibits at the Bronze Age, an exhibition of bronze sculptures that is being held at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath.
The sculpture, which depicts the humble subject of a village woman washing her clothes, was influenced by the artist's memories of her childhood summer vacations in Malabar, where “you wake up with the sound of women washing the clothes,” she narrated, playfully making the sound of clothes hitting a stone slab.
This sense of humour subtly takes form in some of her other works such as ‘On a Rainy Day', where she depicts the billowing of the bronze man's traditional mundu as he runs for shelter from the monsoon rain, protected only by the large tuber leaf he holds over his head.
She evokes this sense of momentum by skilfully capturing the movement of the people in her sculptures, such as with the bronze pole vaulter in ‘Scaling Heights', who remains forever poised precariously in mid-air.
Describing her beginning as an artist, Ms. Usha explained that she always wanted to study the arts, but her parents were against it — a trend that is disappearing, she points out happily. When asked about the use of bronze as her main medium, she accounted for her choice by stating simply that, while wood and other materials are at the mercy of the passage of time, “bronze lasts forever”.