Taxidermy: An art form that celebrates dead.
The old Indian movies celebrated taxidermy. The art of displaying dead deers (read game) bust on mounts was accredited to the mighty villian.
Though the government has banned the hunting of animals and a certain superstar facing the brunt of accusition, this art preserve the reputation and mounts.
This is an art form that transforms the dead animals into works of art. Being a taxidermist is not an easy task.
What is taxidermy?
Taxidermy is an art of preserving the animal body by stuffing and mounting. Museums and pet lovers are investing in this controversial art form to create life size mounts.
Museums use this method to record species along with their original skin. The actual definition of this art form is “rearrangement of skin”.
The art form is not for the lazy and neither for the weak hearted. This means that you would be soon scouting the road victims (animals) for their skin. So the gore and the smells are part of the hobby.
The multidisciplinary work involves cobbling, anatomy, tanning and sculpting. A time consuming passion, be ready to invest few extra days in recreating the dead.
Dr. Santosh Gaikwad, is India’s own answer to the artwork. Although a vet by profession yet his work is art in true form.
A 2013 visit to the Prince of Wales museum in Mumbai made him find his calling.
His motive: To save the indian fauna for the next generation. (If our forefathers knew this art, dinosaurs of today wouldn’t be mere skeletons).
Dr. Gaikwad initially experimented with domestic birds and very soon graduated to larger animals (read lions). Today, press names him the last official taxidermist of the nation.
The enthusiast has preserved 400 birds, 12 species of cat family, alligator and turtle. His artwork is sought out by pet lovers to recreate the memories. Apart from all the pains, the hobby is a costly affair. The price can reach out to 18k for restoring the smile.
Darwin’s preserve the art:
Though traditional taxidermy finds few takers yet the artists are ready to share the details with eager Learners. One such attempt is underway at Darwin, Australia.
The department uses traditional practice like plaster and silicon moulds. Ultimately this is casted in fibreglass.
For preservation of smaller animals, a freezer can be useful.
Another approach is taken up in form of ethical taxidermy. This approach uses humane methods to source the animals. These people call themselves the “ethical taxidermist” due to their sensitive side.
The name suggests the methods of sourcing the product. This is sometimes called the sassy and Wilder side of traditional taxidermy.
Though the professionals in the field are attempting to recreate the natural life in mounts.
Though passed off as a fad, rogue taxidermy is both traditional and modern. So it can be thought of as a pop version of the art.
So it is not your average beaded eye beauty but a sarcastic take on the art.