Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran - Idols of Mud and Water

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran - Idols of Mud and Water
Free - Drop-in - no ticket required
Dates and times
25th Nov 2023 - 21st Apr 2024
Check venue opening times



The first solo exhibition in the UK and Europe for the Sydney-based artist

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran was born in Colombo, Sri-Lanka in 1988 and has lived in Australia since 1989.  He crafts exuberant ceramic sculptures inspired by global histories of figuration, as well as contemporary influences. 

Evoking ancient deities or totemic idols, his ritualistic sculptures gesture to shared histories, multiplicity and plural cultural identities. Colourful, hybrid, human-animal sculptures echo the coexistent belief systems that reflect the artist’s own ancestry, inspired by iconography and mythological narratives from across South Asia.

Exploring these themes through a contemporary lens, Ramesh’s sculptures explore his own multifarious influences. Though they resemble ancient idols, his figures are often adorned in contemporary fashions or reflect a queer sensibility. Lathered in colourful glazes and adopting playful poses, they are often performative or engaged in some form of heightened display, introducing electricity, neon and other contemporary raw elements into an otherwise ancient visual language. 

For Idols of Mud and Water, Ramesh dramatically populates Tramway's main gallery with a melange of multi-limbed, fertility, guardian, protector, joker and warrior figures. This new body of sculptures is housed amongst an improvised, makeshift architectural ‘temple’ structure, made from a range of repurposed materials including bamboo, scaffolding and recycled timber. Connected by a narrative of mud and water, the installation evokes the feeling that visitors are entering a flooded ruin or a space of dreams and divinations. Tramway becomes, in the artist’s words, a ‘buzzing mythological playground’ in which queer politics, anthropomorphism, monumentality and popular culture combine to create new, speculative mythologies. 

Funded by Creative Australia, Creative Scotland and the Henry Moore Foundation

More about Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran

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: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi (2023); Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2022); Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2022); The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, New South Wales (2021); Melbourne Art Foundation, Melbourne (2020); Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney (2019); 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); Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Adelaide (2016); Kuandu Biennale, Taipei (2016); Shepparton Art Museum, Victoria (2015); Gallery 9, Sydney (2015).

Image: Idols of Mud and Water, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Tramway 2023.
Installation photo Keith Hunter

Below: In a short video, Ramesh introduces his Tramway installation
7 mins 17 secs, subtitled

Accessibility guides

Read the Accessibility Guide for Tramway on AccessAble 

Large Print and Braille programme material available upon request. 

Some performances may also be BSL interpreted, audio described or have further assistance available. Access information for individual events is included in their event listing. 


Accessible toilets

Accessible toilets are available on all three levels of Tramway, and come equipped with handrails and emergency pull cords. Please contact Tramway prior to your visit if you have any additional requirements

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome. We can provide a bowl of water for an assistance dog. The assistance dog toilet area is located to the rear of the building.

Assistance dogs are allowed in the auditorium.

Wheelchair access

There is level access to all Tramway spaces and the cafe, with lift access to the upper spaces.

There are designated spaces for wheelchair users in the theatre. 


Baby changing

Baby changing facilities are available on the ground floor

Baby feeding

Breastfeeding is welcome at Tramway

Cafe or restaurant

Full table service is not available. Food or drinks can be ordered at the counter and will be brought to the table.
No tables are permanently fixed.
No chairs are permanently fixed.

Menus are hand held only, but are clearly presented in contrasting colours. Menus are not available in Braille. 


On street only

Photography and video recording

At times, Glasgow Life will be on the premises to film and take photos. 

The public are only permitted to record and take photos where explicit permission has been granted in advance. 

Free wifi

There is free Wi-Fi available at Tramway, which you can access by registering through Facebook or an online form. Once registered, you can access free Wi-Fi whenever you are at Tramway.

Location Map

Tramway is a post-industrial venue with a range of unique and versatile spaces, popular with private and corporate clients looking for a venue ‘with a difference’. Tramway is an ideal space for performances, exhibitions, private viewings, seminars, meetings and smaller scale functions.

Visit Tramway's venue hire web page to find out more. 

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