Breathing life into stones

Tanveen KawoosaAn All India Sculptor Camp organised by Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages concluded here this week with visitors clamouring for a view of art works. Fifteen local and nationally acclaimed artists participated in the camp, with their creations on display at the Tagore Hall.

Despite the fact that art camp was organised after a period of 30 years in Kashmir, sculpture could not be seen as becoming a lost art. Transforming real to metaphorical, sculptors breathed new life in inanimate objects.

Noted sculptor and Principal of Fine Arts College Shaiqa Mohi said the exhibition was aimed at taking forward the sculpture art in Kashmir. Shaiqa, herself a participant, said that art camps provide an opportunity for artists to interact and exchange artistic pursuits.

“We have brought our modernist artists to Kashmiri art viewers, especially to expose them to the abstract works. I believe such exchanges help understand each other’s artistic nuances,” she added.

Shaiqa is the first female sculptor of Kashmir valley who has received numerous national and international accolades for her outstanding contribution in the sculpture art.

Her present art work is the extension of her earlier series – Valley. On this note she says, “To me stone or any other solid material contains unfavourable artistic elements, which, in the words of Michelangelo, the world famous artist, has just to be brought out with delicate strokes. The latent geometry plays a vital role in bringing out these aesthetic forms.”

At first glance convex and concave shapes appear in her art work. However, when observed keenly, the stone reflects tremendous possibilities as a medium of expression.

The other eye catching work on display titled “Return my past” has been created by renowned Kashmiri sculptor Gayur Hassan.

His work reflects the fading glory of world famous Dal Lake. Inspired by the great Sufi saints of Kashmir – Lal Ded and Nund Reshi – Gayur’s most of the work is a metaphor for mysticism.

Gayur who pioneered sculpture art in Kashmir strongly emphasizes the need to establish an art gallery. “Despite our efforts, the state government has shown laidback attitude in establishing an art gallery in Kashmir,” says Gayur.

Art emanates out of deep concern for translating truth through creativity. Artists are not activists yet they can give bold political statements through the medium of high art. One such work on display is “A latest Roadmap to obscurity” created by sculptor Shabir Mirza.

Arrows carved ambiguously on stone is a metaphorical statement on the present state of politics in Kashmir which leads a common Kashmiri nowhere.

Mirza, whose work appeared in various international exhibitions, says that initially stone appears to be tough medium, but once different forms are carved, the effect is quite elusive. His earlier work includes the “Rectangular deluge in silent Lake”.

For Pritikahar from Baroda, it is an adventurous experience to work on mix media. Her simple and elegant structure titled “Lost” consists of galvanized wires suspended from two blocks of stone. She has assembled metal and stone to convey more subtle and pastoral feelings.

Sonu Aggarwal, a pass out from Shantinekaitem, Kolkata, believes that art and culture are the first causality of violence.  Her work showcases sea creatures attached to fruits as she always combines non-relevant elements to create a new form.

“There are layers and layers in art work and it is difficult for an artist to decipher any single layer. During the course of his work, the moods of artist keep on changing until perfect form is created,” explains Aggarwal.

Other interesting installations on display include “Landscape” by Vikas Khajuria and “Neglected books” by Bishamber Mehta from Jammu.

Explaining his work of art, Mehta said that it was his quest to present injustice done with books in this technological era. The installations exhibited by 15 artists would be most appropriately described as contemporary expressionism wherein by distorting shape and surface of the medium, amazing art works emerge.


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