Bronze Deities channels the scale and authority of temple iconography, brutalist architecture and colonial-era public monuments to envision ‘deities in drag’ or multi-gendered ‘gods’ who can change forms. These works are cast from ephemeral sculptures made from unfired clay and other objects, including seashells, hoses, Hello Kitty toys, diamantes, nail polish, synthetic wigs and tiger masks, and in some instances plated with 24-carat gold. Poked-out tongues suggest Hindu goddess Kali while imagery of felines, phallic forms, crucifixes, graffiti and fertility coalesce as a vernacular of contemporary culture within plural Australian societies and the global south.
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran’s sculptures explore the politics of sex, the monument, gender and religion. He mines his Hindu and Christian cultural heritage as reference points in his practice, which often includes self-portraits. His specific references to multi-gendered icons mythologise gender-fluid realms of new possibilities.