As you step onto the balcony at State Art Gallery, you’d be struck by the dedication of the students hard at work there. While some are busy chiselling away, others wield welding machines to give life to scrap metal, while still others knead and form terracotta sculptures. As part of the Sculpture Camp organised by the State Art Gallery, 20 students from Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University (JNAFAU) and P.S. Telugu University (PSTU), are participating in this week-long workshop to create mixed media sculptures that will then decorate the gallery.
“Chandana Khan, president of State Art Gallery, came up with the idea of organising this camp as a platform for students to showcase their skills. We provide them the material and space to produce their work,” explains Sivanagi Reddy, director of the gallery.
The students, all from the BFA Sculpting course, are accompanied by three faculty members – two from JNAFAU and one from PSTU. “We help the students with both technically and conceptually during this camp. The students have the freedom of using whatever medium they want and a lot of them have chosen metal,” says Subodh Singh, JNAFAU professor.
A large section of the balcony is taken up by students working with metal, even as they are surrounded by scrap and sculptures in various stages of completion. Some of the works are truly creative. Take for instance, the tree with a globe mounted on top. Made by B. Santosh, a second year student of JNAFAU who also works nights as an ambulance driver, the sculpture has a strong ecological message. “I basically wanted to say that planting more trees can save the globe. So I used metal pipes, bolts, screws and gears to make the sculpture,” he says. Another student, Ram Subramanyam wanted to create a comic sculpture and was busy crafting a skeleton snow skating. With a couple of metal pipes, a car headlight frame, some suspension springs and ball bearings, his work is well underway.
At the other end of the balcony, sitting on a block of wood he’s chiselling away, is Harinath Kumar, a final year student from PSTU. Hailing from a family of carpenters, he had worked with wood since childhood and decided to specialise in wood sculpting.
Inside a room, three youngsters laugh and joke as they create terracotta sculptures. M.J.R. Laxmi, of PSTU, says she enjoys working with terracotta because of its malleability. “It is a long process though, since I have to wait for it to dry and then bake it to complete the process,” she says.
Some of the other sculptures include a metal child walking a dog, a car, giraffes etc.