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Public Projects Upcoming

Idols of Mud and Water 

8 June to 27 July 2024

Launch Night Digbeth First Friday 7 June, 6–8pm
Everyone is welcome!

For Idols of Mud and Water, Australian based Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran will dramatically populate Eastside Projects’ second  gallery with a melange of exuberant multi-limbed, fertility, protector, joker and warrior figures.  

Made over a year in the lead up to the exhibition, the installation rallies a body of 100 terracotta sculptures nestled within an improvised, makeshift architectural ‘temple’ structure, made from repurposed scaffolding and recycled timber. Connected by a narrative of mud and water, the artist will craft an installation as a ruin or a space of dreams and divinations, simultaneously apocalyptic and optimistic. 

Ramesh’s ceramic figures are the product of elaborate modelling and glazing techniques, whilst also channelling the artist’s  interest in the symbolic functions of physically moulding clay, mud or earth. 

Narratives expand further the polymorphism of Hindu gods, whose avatars manifest in colourful, hybrid, human-animal forms. In Idols of Mud and Water Ramesh explores primordial, alchemic relationships to material, tracking back to terracotta as a medium and the true nature of unglazed terracotta, which is rudimentary, raw and earthy. Mud as a material responds to global debates on the impacts of climate change, yet the project is not apocalyptic or didactic – the plasticity of the core material echoes the growing fluidity across genders, races, belief systems and even species that underpins Ramesh’s vision. Inclusive, democratic, bold, electrifying, secular and ambiguous, the gallery is converted into a space for myth and ritual.

Idols of Mud and Water has been commissioned by TRAMWAY and is supported by Australia Council for the Arts, The Henry Moore Foundation and Creative Scotland.


(b.1988 Colombo Sri-Lanka, Australia from 1989) 

Nithiyendran received his BA/BFA from the University of New South Wales in 2011 and a MFA from the University of New South Wales in 2013. His work had been exhibited widely in solo and group shows internationally, including: Tramway, Glasgow (2023–2024), Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi (2023); Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2022); Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2022); Melbourne Art Foundation, Melbourne (2020); Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Casula (2019); Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne (2016); The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2016); Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka (2016).