Female artist completes largest mural church painting in Asia
Kochi, Kerala: St George church, Chakkarapparambu in Vyttila, is a unique structure in that it has a square look while most others have arch shape. And now, the church has a mural painting to add to its uniqueness. And the credit goes to Preethi Vinod Chellappan, a mural painting specialist from Bengaluru.
“The 35’ high and 28’ wide work is arguably the single largest mural painting inside a church in Asia,” said Vicar Fr Thomas Mazhuvancheri.
“I have been doing wall paintings for the last five years, but it was my first work in a church,” Preethi said. “The architect of the church, who had seen mosaic art with yellow colour at the famous St Fatima church in Portugal, wanted me to have a similar work done here.” The architect shared his idea with Preethi and wanted a wall painting on the altar.
Not surprisingly, the work was not easy. To do a mural painting, of such height and width, requires a lot of patience and skill. “We were also working on a deadline which meant that we were working most days and even nights. Every time, I worked on the saints, I had to get down (from the scaffolding) and go stand at the back of the church to see how it has come out. That was physically exhaustive,” said Preethi.
Preethi chose yellow to bring positivity to the atmosphere. Jesus was given a dark shade in the 35 feet by 28 feet painting so that it would stand out in the yellow background. She credits her colleague Sujit for the creation the group of saints on the portrait. One of the striking features she mentioned is the direct sunlight that hits on the painting. They took almost two months to complete the work which is in acrylic.
Prior to starting the work, the artists studied the history of the early church and the saints. They also carefully learned the mannerisms of the church ancestors. “Each and every facial expression was important. We had to ensure that there was a touch of serenity, holiness and lack of aggressiveness,” said Sujith.
The black metal figure
Unlike most crucifixes kept at churches, the one on top of the altar is of a metal black Christ. “We had travelled to many churches and seen Christ in different colours in many countries. The reason why we chose to colour it dark, is because it was in direct contrast to the yellow background,” said Fr Thomas. Also, there are no arches at the altar.
“We decided that we will depict the arch (which symbolises the holy and more holy places) through a simple arch on the mural painting,” he added.Incidentally, the new church, neutrally-designed, with white walls, and modern architecture, took two years to build. The painting was dedicated on May 21.
source: Indian Express