Idols of Mud and Water by Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran

“You need to take photos. No one is going to believe you if you don’t.”

This is what the gallery invigilator said after we’d walked through the door and audibly gasped.

He was right, that’s why I filmed it to share with you.

A Welcome to a World Where You Don’t Belong

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran‘s Idols of Mud and Water is part invitation inside a playful mind and part transplant into a culture we usually don’t belong.

It’s sensory, outrageously innocent, and superb.

It feels unsettling to be in a world where all the norms have changed, voyeuristic (in an old-fashioned ethnographic way) but at the same time, hugely liberating.

You walk out wanting to make your own 20-foot-high clay votive figure!



Idols of Mud and Water is a show for contemporary art lovers and culture seekers alike. For the first, there’s joy in seeing a few art rules turning to dust.

For anyone else, there are enough sensory pleasures to keep whole families amazed.

It’s brilliant for kids. How else can you show them that anything is possible, and that what they make matters.

Contemporary art decriers will probably still hate it because they won’t (or can’t) look past its naivety to find its perfect compositions and complexities (it’s formally elegant in almost every way). 

I’m pretty sure it will haunt their indignant dreams anyway. 

About the Venue | Tramway

Tramway is in Glasgow. As its name suggests, the building was formerly a tram depot, making a large space to show art.

It is Scotland’s best venue for solo installations and contemporary sculptural art.

Don’t miss a visit to the Hidden Gardens, surely the most poetic green space in Glasgow.


Glasgow Tramway art gallery Secret Gardens


Tramway a bit out of Glasgow town centre. If you are wondering if this show is worth making the trip, it’s a hundred per cent yes.


We were planning to do a couple of exhibitions that day, and in fact, I didn’t want to see either another gallery or museum after this show. I was satiated. Nothing could possibly follow it.

We hung out for a long time in the cold in the garden, experiencing that kind of post-art trance when every tiny detail feels significant (it is the perfect garden for this!), then popped back in for a second look.

Even the slight change of light (it’s January, it gets dark quickly) had rewritten the events of the room.

Spellbinding is an overused adjective, but I’m going to use my whole 2024 quota on this one show – and not even care.

I’ve been liberated!

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran's Idols of Mud and Water exhibition at Glasgow Tramway

About Us

You may be wondering what a Perthshire language school is doing writing an exhibition review.

Well firstly, we’re out and about enjoying contemporary Scotland in all its sights, sounds and flavours – which is what you will do too, if you join us on an English-speaking holiday.

Secondly, we specialise in helping creatives express themselves in English about their art/design work. That’s for international artist talks, job applications gallery exhibitions.

You can find out more about our artist services and English for Creative Careers.

Lastly, when you trust yourself to speak a second language, you need to find the zone in which you feel carefree: when your heart and mouth work together (and your brain stops judging you).

Artists such as Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran can help anyone into their zone with a taste of what a free mind feels like.

How to Say Lots with Few Words

Immersion in English for Creatives 2024 cover with leaves

 English Immersion for Artists Week

Further Information

Like this blog? We’ve got more! Discover the Installation Art of the Fife Coastal Path.

External links

Idols of Mud and Water runs 25th Nov 2023 – 21st Apr 2024. Check out the Tramway for visiting hours, transport information and more.

In case you don’t know, you can get the Traveline App for your phone, which can help you navigate Scotland in real time.