Built in the time when it had to face strong criticism, the popular 30-feet-tall nude sculpture of Yakshi in Kerala is all set to get a makeover after 50 years. By Sushmita Srivastav

With her locks flowing effortlessly, legs wide open, and bold expressions suggesting a satiated state, the voluptuous naked sculpture of Yakshi in Malampuzha, Kerala, had given the conservative mindset of the Indian society a cultural shock when it was built in 1969. Over the time, however, it grew into one of the most popular imposing statues of the state. As it completes its 50 years of construction this year, eminent artist Kanayi Kunhiraman—the man behind the art—has decided to give the celebrated sculpture of the demigoddess a facelift.

Kunhiraman, who built the 30-feet tall sculpture at the age of 30, feels like it’s about time that his revolutionary piece of art gets the much-needed renovation to restore it to its old sensuous charm and help it withstand the test of time in the coming years. To pull off the same, the sculptor is looking at layering the sculpture in a bronze plating.

Predictably, Kunhiraman had to face some serious protests when he started with the sculpting process, and was even accused of upholding obscenity. People with conventional thoughts found it improper to have a statue of Yakshi sitting naked in an open garden facing the Western Ghats. But the artist, who believes in taking art out of the museum, remained unfazed, and finally built the iconic art work, which today stands synonymous to Malampuzha.

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