What a steal! Copycat art installations pop up in city

Internationally well-known art installations have become part of cityscape.   | Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti

The city has a new art installation near the Moazzam Jahi Market. A huge boulder appears to be strung up by a rope and stays in air, as if by magic, below another boulder. Commuters give a double glance before moving on.

“We were given a photograph by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation officials and asked to create a similar installation. We used fibre glass for the purpose. What appears to be a rope is also made of fibre glass,” says Akalp Mukim, the sculptor behind the installation.

A few kilometres and a world away near Mindspace Junction is another art installation that shows large, perfectly-shaped shimmering feathers stuck to the floor. In the middle of a traffic island, road users see it and go their way.

What ties these two art installations is the fact that both are copies of well known art installations from different cultures. The floating rock installation is a copy of the one near the Cairo airport that was created by Shaaban Abbas before the artist died in 2010.

The metal feathers sculpture was created by Irish sculptor Alex Pentek. “I see the sculpture in Hyderabad as a blatant copy and IP theft of my original artwork ‘Kindred Spirits’ in Ireland, which represents my career as an artist pioneering new techniques and use of materials in the studio over many years. There is no question that this work is made to be as close a copy of my work as physically possible and I am currently seeking legal advice,” said Mr. Pentek, who has done art installations in Ireland, UK, Canada and Australia.

Kindred Spirits showing metallic feathers is testament to the ties between Ireland and Native Americans. “It was made to reflect the history of a donation to Ireland during the Great Hunger from the Native American Choctaw Nation in 1847. Having this work copied without my permission and placed out of context in Hyderabad undermines my original intention and de-values my work,” says the artist.

A much stranger location for a copied installation is on the Outer Ring Road near Gachibowli — the Cupped Hands sculpture. The wooden cupped hands installation located in Brandelhow, UK, marks the first land purchase by the National Trust aimed at preserving nature. Ironically, the cupped hands sculpture near Gachibowli is planted in the middle of zipping traffic where people can barely spot it.

“Public art installations reflect local culture. They are part of our identity. Telangana artists were at the forefront of the movement, but by copying art, we are ignoring our own artists and culture. Telangana has a rich pool of talent but we are nowhere involved with these new installations,” said B. Srinivas Reddy, principal of Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 3:50:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/what-a-steal-copycat-art-installations-pop-up-in-city/article35658987.ece

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