'Indian women are very graceful'

Australian artist

'Indian women are very graceful'

Work has taken Australian sculptor Feyona van Stom across the world. She grew up in Hong Kong but worked in America and Australia after finishing her studies in painting in Connecticut and Sydney.

She believes in weaving together creativity and imagination to create something unique. Her colourful works in clay are indeed a celebration of the human form and movement. Feyona was in the city recently to exhibit her work at Gallery Manora. She took time off to chat with Nina C George about what got her hooked to working with clay.  

How did you take to making clay sculptures?

I learnt design in painting and computer art before I decided to work with clay full time. I realised that my true calling was in making clay sculptures. I was always on the lookout for the next shape and movement that I could incorporate in my work.

Is your latest work an ode to women?

You could call it a tribute to women. I always work around figures that involve women and their movement. However, I was given a brief to work on paintings found in Anjanta Caves. I found that most of the paintings and sculptures were of women. I’ve tried to understand the imagination of those who originally made those paintings and I’ve tried to replicate the same.

What kind of research has gone into putting together the recent collection?

I got hold of a book by a photographer who went into the caves in Ajanta in 1910 and took pictures of the paintings there. I read that book at least three or four times to understand the essence of the photographer’s work and bring that spirit into my work.    

Have you tried working with any other material?

I’ve worked with bronze, glass, wood and metal but clay is much more tactile than any other material. There’s nothing more original to work with than clay.   

Do Indian women inspire you?

Indian women are very graceful and I like the way they move. I like the way the women in the villages try to balance a pot on their head and yet move so swiftly. I am also fascinated with the bright-coloured saris that they wear.

Is your work based on your mood?

Yes my work is based on my mood. But I am constantly drawing and making preparations for my next sculpture. There’s never a dull moment for me.  

What are you doing at the moment? 

I presently teach art in Neutral Bay in Australia and I am also the president of The Sculptors Society in Australia and busy in organising at least 10 exhibitions a year.  

What do you want to  take back from India?
I want to buy a pink sari because there are an amazing range of pinks here.

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