Sreedhar Vykunta’s miniature photographs dwell on themes as varied as IPL and COVID-19 safety protocols.
The 14th season of the Indian Premier League is underway and the action is no longer restricted to the stadiums. Inside an apartment in Hyderabad’s Kukatpally, software engineer-turned-artist Sreedhar Vykunta unveils his dream — capturing through miniature photography, an exciting IPL semi-final match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers. A mini-stadium with a pitch and backdrop from stickers, paper prints and plastic bags provide a pitch-perfect view even as captains MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli stand tall at just 5 cm.
Combining his passion for miniature photography with Marvel superheroes, Sreedhar recreates his favourite actors/sportsmen with matchsticks and also to focus on social issues. His friends and family were pleasantly surprised at his artwork of a miniature superhero Hulk dressed traditionally for Ugadi. “Everyone is interested in shooting wedding photographs or portraits. I wanted to try a different genre,” he explains.
The iconic scene from the movie ‘Bahubali’ recreated through matchsticks
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His matchstick art began four years ago with the iconic Why Katappa Killed Baahubali scene from Baahubali using 50 matchsticks, followed by one of the elephant scenes from Baahubali 2, complete with a custom-made miniature wheel on its trunk. “I waited for six months to get a miniature elephant, but it was worth the wait ” he recalls.
Last year, he used miniature photography to create awareness on social distancing and wearing facemasks. Sreedhar uses Marvel action figures for his conceptual themes. While matchstick figures turned ambassadors for social distancing, his Hulk and Spiderman sporting facemasks were at the forefront of this safety campaign. A pregnant elephant’s tragic death in Kerala and the Disha incident in Hyderabad were other incidents he depicted through art. Sreedhar’s social media timeline is filled with miniature photographs of a pearl depicting a ball and a piece of cloth a miniature bat that he had screated for last year’s IPL.
Sreedhar explains his creative process, “I collect photographs relevant to my themes. My set creation usually takes more than three hours to loop matchsticks as it involves removing the tips for some, making a figurine with them and fixing it all on a thermocol base. The matchstick art looks simple but the process is laborious and needs a lot of patience,” he says. Apart from his job and this photography, Sreedhar is also a passionate biker and is the admin of MotoWings Bikers Club.