Sri Lankan-born, Sydney-based artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran is leading the recent ‘rediscovery’ of ceramics in Australian contemporary art. He works sculpturally with experimental forms and glazes, and individually crafted plinths. While proceeding from an atheist perspective, Nithiyendran draws upon his Hindu and Christian heritage. Deities including Krishna, Kali and Ganesh, as well as Christian references and self portraits, make frequent appearances in his work. These influences vie for both victory and ruin in the artist’s composite creations, just as the male and female organs present in the work suggest a transgender realm of new possibilities. Through his work Nithiyendran champions the physicality of the art act, claiming that ‘the visceral, technical possibilities and symbolism of clay (as fundamental corporeal matter) make it the perfect material to engage with the politics of sex, gender and organised religion’.

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran’s installation for Magic Object is on view at the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art.