A vehicle for conveying an upcycling message

Metal Sculptures parked at Chennai Higher Secondary School in Thiruvanmiyur. Photos: M. Karunakaran

Metal Sculptures parked at Chennai Higher Secondary School in Thiruvanmiyur. Photos: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran


Metal sculptures made out of parts of vehicles junked by Greater Chennai Corporation are expected to adorn a few central sections of the city; sixteen sculptors have been engaged in this exercise

Fourteen just-crafted sculptures are temporarily parked at Chennai Higher Secondary School on Bharathidasan Salai in Thiruvanmiyur, and expected to be installed soon at prominent locations to drive home an upcycling message.

A Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) official has said that the civic body is yet to decide on suitable locations for these sculptures, each of which weighs somewhere between one and 1.5 tonnes. What makes these artworks singular is that they have been made from automobile-metal scraps of vehicles discarded by GCC.

Sculpted images of animals predominate the collection. Representations of human beings, as engaged in their trade, also figure prominently in it. With automobile parts tracing the anatomical features of humans and animals, there is a surreality to the sculptures. The placement of shock-absorbers is unmissable in some sculptures, especially a metallic panther.

Structural channels — also known as “C-type channels” — which go into the making of structural frames of automobiles have been as base for the sculptures. Iron pipes have largely been used to trace the “skeletal structure” of the subjects. Easily-recognisable automoile parts make up sections of certain sculptures. So, you have petrol tanks of varying sizes being used to define the shape of the claws of a crab; and the carapace of a tortoise.

“There are plans to have them displayed at Tidel Park and Elliot’s beach in Besant Nagar. The installation would be done in such a manner that they are beyond easy reach, or else miscreants would rip off the metal parts. We are also toying with the idea of displaying them in an indoor gallery with light effects,” says the official.

GCC maintains a scrap yard at Pudupet where it discards its sport utility vehicles, excavators, cranes, trucks and compactors.

The Regional Deputy Commissioner (South), GCC, Alby John says this endeavour seeks to underscore the concept of upcycling where a discarded item gets an added value.

The sculptures include the following themes: A farmer with a spade; a fisherman with a paddle and a boat; a sailor with the steering wheel of a ship; a man trying to tame a bull; a Bharatanatyam dancer; a mridhangam player; a mermaid; a tortoise; a shrimp; a crab, a shark, two deer, a panther and an eagle.

The team

Sixteen sculptors were part of this exercise. Srinivas Padakandla, Academic Associate, Acharya Nagarjuna University College Of Architecture And Planning, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, who led the team of artists, says, “Our guiding principle is to create art forms in an environment-friendly manner. Now, junk art is gaining in popularity due to a humongous amount of automobile and electronic waste being generated. In this GCC project, around 15 tonnes of metal scrap have gone into making 14 pieces of sculpture.”

This group of artists had earlier worked with Thoothukudi, Madurai and Tirunelveli Corporations and with the Industrial Training Institute in Guindy.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 9:03:15 AM |

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