State's first Kannaki sculpture to come up at Mathilakam

Kochi: As a tribute to Kannaki, the chaste heroine of the 5,270-line Sangam era classic, a memorial will be constructed at the village where the great Tamil poet Ilango Adigal brought her to life 16 centuries ago.

Mathilakam near here, believed to be the lost Muziris seaport of Thrikkana-Mathilakam where Adigal composed his epic Silapathikaram, will be home to Kerala's first ever sculpture of Kannaki, to be erected as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012.

Kannaki, who burns down an entire city in her righteous fury, has been conferred an element of divinity through temples that are believed to be dedicated to her.

But it is the first time in Kerala that she will be represented in a sculpture as the incorruptible epitome of womanhood and women's empowerment, said Riyas Komu, Director of Programmes of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

The Biennale is already celebrating Kannaki's legend and its origins with a two-day Silapathikaram Festival in the village. It got underway this morning with a devotional 'Sopana Sangeetam' concert by young vocalist Njeralath Harigovindan and his team.

Acclaimed performance artistes Kuzhuppully Matathil Komalam Nangiaramma, Cherumanath Rugmini Nangiaramma, Kalamandalam Girija, Dr Jayanthi Nangiar and Usha Nangiar were present at the inauguration of the festival at the St Joseph's High School grounds by Mathilakam Block Panchayat president Pushpa Sreenivasan.

The proceedings of the evening started off with a procession from Ilavanchikulam. The evening's programmes were inaugurated by veteran music composer V Dakshinamoorthi.

Renowned artist Usha Nangiar essayed the role of Mandodari from Ramayana in a performance of Nangiar Koothu – the first time the mythological character has been portrayed in this 1,500-year-old art form.