As lifetime member and two-time President of the India International Centre (IIC), Prof. MGK Menon had envisioned the Gandhi King Plaza — a garden pool under the open skies in IIC and dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King — to grow as a space embracing beautiful sculptures from all over and inspire artists and public for greater work.
On Thursday when the sculpture court was unveiled for the preview of the fifth edition of iSculpt, it yet again brought alive that dream with a mesmerising display of installations in wood, stone, metal, terracotta, commissioned from across the country. On show was the sculptural prowess of 24 artists in a mélange of materials and compositions blending the traditional techniques without rejecting contemporary trends.
iSculpt is organised every two years by the Delhi Arts Society (DAS), which was founded by well-known art critic and poet Keshav Malik (also the older brother of art historian Kapila Vatsyayan). The fifth edition held over the next fortnight is commemorating 100 years of Malik, who loved the idea of contemporary character blending with traditional ethos in artworks.
Curator Uma Nair says, she hinged Malik’s devotion to arts with her choices of sculptors that include the masters and the emerging names, two women sculptors and many award-winning artists.
At iSculpt-2023, the movement from traditional to contemporaneity creates new meanings and evokes different emotions. Nair has got four artists from National Gallery of Modern Art Mumbai, and to see Rini Dhumal’s Green Goddess in bronze or Sonia Sareen’s Earth goddess in Aluminium titled Bhavnamayi feels like the sculptures are speaking to you.
Known for exploring human forms with a touch of both simplicity and complexity, Himmat Shah’s introspective piece, the head of a woman in bronze is as evocative as Amar Nath Sehgal’s abstract Ganesha or Satish Gupta’s magnificent Devi in copper and steel or Shiva by Bengal terracotta master Ram Kumar Manna.
Not to be missed are Dhananjay Singh’s portrait of two human faces with a tree or Ankon Mitra’s folded butterflies that embellisha gorgeous tree in the form of an installation. Harsha Durugadda who has just returned after doing a historic large-format sculptural installation in Sydney (called Brood), is now here with another work Topo, in birchwood with architectural nuances.
Phaneendra Nath Chaturvedi’s creation of a single wing butterfly in anti-corrosive steel with oxygenated colour is an eye-catcher, speaking of enchantment and fragility of living beings in all their beauty.
Sculptor Neeraj Gupta, who is also the president of DAS, says, true art goes beyond theories around aesthetics and their scientific application. He believes love alone is the aim of art and it should not be dehumanised by machines of modern times.
“Art has the power to transcend barriers, provides an enabling voice and has the ability to communicate,” says Neeraj, whose marble abstract at the entrance welcomes visitors to the exhibition.
At IIC, 40 Max Mueller Marg; Till December 21; 11am to 7pm