A 7

In 1818 there was a breakout of a small pox in Travancore. People mired in superstitions thought that it was the punishment of some angry gods and goddesses. They refused to take vaccination as instructed by the missionaries. The superstition was so rampant that they thought any medicine from the English would contaminate them! Benjamin Bailey was the principal of the college and Col. Munroe gave him strict instructions to get the people vaccinated in Kottayam. Those wo were really sick and needed to be quarantined were taken to Munroe Thuruth, the island near Kollam given to the missionaries by the Regent Rani Gowri Laxmi Bai.

Sivaraman in his relief sculpture takes off from this historical incident and stylistically represents the contagion through sick as well as dead people. In his decorative style that reminds the viewers of the traditional Kerala mural style, he has brought a dead or sick person covered in palm fronts in the left side of the panel. In the middle of the panel one could see the sick person is being administered with medicines. There is an imminence of death looming large over the place but its severity is contained in the decorative way the flora and fauna are treated by the artist.

Published On: January 27th, 2024Categories: Relief Sculpture

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