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Kochi Biennale: Bangla artist recreates wild elephant’s death in Palakkad with moving artwork | Art and Culture

Kochi: An emotive artistic work that has an underlying reference to violence stemming from man-animal confrontations, exemplified by the death of a pregnant elephant after it ate an explosive-laden pineapple, is turning heads at the Kochi Muziris Biennale.

The tusker met with a horrific death at Ambalappara  in Palakkad on May 27, 2020, after eating the fruit filled with country-made crackers, which exploded in its mouth. The wounded animal then ran around the village in searing pain, unable to eat for days. Finally, it entered a river and stood there with its trunk and mouth immersed in water till it breathed its last two days later.

Shikh Sabbir Alam, a contemporary artist from Bangladesh, has now recreated this incident, which received worldwide attention. The moving piece of artwork is exhibited at Fort Kochi Aspinwall House.

Shikh Sabbir has put up a total of six acrylic paintings on display at the Biennale, including the works ‘About the Garden’; ‘Magic House 1,2,3’; ‘Elephants and Fruit’; and ‘White Rabbit’. The creations which showcase the flora and fauna from tortoises to elephants and fruits resemble much like a dream. At the same time, it is mystical as well.

“My pictures resemble the vision that slowly materializes before you when you open your eyes after a long sleep,” says Alam. The attempt is to guide viewers through the display of pictures using pastel colours to experience the wonders being depicted on the canvas. “The colour of a flower or a fruit is enough to inspire original creations,” he adds.