Still chipping away
Despite their advancing age, veteran sculptors at the State Art Gallery's sculpture expo show they still have the spark.
THE LIFE and work of Ramkumar Baijze has been a source of inspiration to generations of sculptors. The man, who rose like a phoenix from the humblest of beginnings to capture the sensitivity of human endeavours in his sculptures, is highly revered even today. The ongoing stone carving camp at the campus of the State Art Gallery is dedicated to the master sculptor. It's being organised by the All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi, that's been promoting art activities for the last 78 years in India and abroad. The other partners in the event are the Department of Culture, Andhra Pradesh, and the Hyderabad Art Society.
As Department of Culture director Arja Srikanth points out, the camp is a fine cultural bridge between Delhi and Hyderabad. It was heartening to see the participants of this camp - all veterans in the 60-80 age group. Not giving in to physical limitations, they diligently and deftly handled chisels and hammers across the hard pink sandstone specially brought from Warangal.
Among the participants is octogeneraian Avtar Singh, president of the Indian Academy of Fine Arts, Amritsar. Seemingly simple and elegant, his sculpture is a fusion of a complex vision and minimalist form. S. M. Peeran of Hyderabad, another sculptor, projects the portrait of a woman, ornate at strategic places, which, in his words, signifies the "goodness of a mother". Shivdev Singh from Amritsar, the only youngster among the veterans, is busy with `Shrishti', his favourite theme. Thinking of galaxies and Milky Ways, he makes a formidable figure - solitary and focused in his turban and beard under the star-lit sky late in the night, with only his tools and thoughts for company. Jagpal Singh from Jammu and Kashmir carves out a vertical column-like sculpture, using the metaphor of an elegant snake. He also carves doorways reminiscent of Buddhist Viharas besides those of trees. Watching his works is a calm and almost religious-like experience. The other works on display are all unique, each bearing the distinct touch of their creator. While M.G. Reddy's creation is all form with concentration on negative space and rhythmic movement of special contours, Lucknow's Surendra Pande has a method which helps him visualise objects like the human torso in simple and symmetric frames. The other participants are G.Y. Giri of Hyderabad, Dharmani of New Delhi and Surendra from Warangal.
There is an air of camaraderie in the camp. Among the non-participating sculpture enthusiasts are local artists R. Subash Babu, C. Narappa and Ramakrishna. Many an interesting story, stored in the memory of these experienced men, were recounted during the course of the show much to the pleasure of the participants.
Avtar Singh talked about the greatness and simplicity of Shailoz Mukherjee while V. S. Rahi remembered the genius of Nandlal Bose besides recounting heart-warming memories about his friends, the young Jagdish and Kamla Mittal at Shantiniketan.
Sculpture lovers can meet the sculptors at the campsite. The camp comes to an end on February 11.
B. PADMA REDDY
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