Passage of time

Transcending IDIOMS A work by Rajendar Tiku.

Transcending IDIOMS A work by Rajendar Tiku.  

Seasoned artist Rajendar Tiku’s sculptures draw on nostalgia and archaeology.

Nostalgia is the dominant theme in Rajendar Tiku’s sculpture exhibition “Metaphors in Matter”. In “My House in the Snow” Kashmiri artist Tiku reminisces about his house in Kashmir that he had to abandon like so many others. The piece — two chunks of marble joined by silver gilded wood with a small but clearly visible conical structure in the middle, deals with the pain of displacement. “For last 20 years, I have been living outside Kashmir where my house was. That house doesn’t belong to me any more. We have lost our culture, homes. The works reinforce the feeling of nostalgia,” says Tiku.

It feels as if you are standing at an archaeological site with fresh findings just having been excavated. Archaeology fascinates Tiku but not for the story attached with it. Tiku is rather drawn to the visual aspect of it. “I am never interested in their history. Archaeological sites are visible signs of the passage of time which is impressed on its surface. What interests me is how they look and appear at the moment. So it’s about the ‘present-ness’ of the past,” explains Tiku.

Tiku is fascinated by man-made structures. He is particularly interested in dargahs and temples. In ‘The Shrine’ rendered in stone and gold gilded iron, Tiku has made a Muslim shrine with broken arches. “The aura of silence and sacredness around them is intriguing. How ordinary sites become so extraordinary is interesting,” says Tiku. The tactile surface of his works invites the viewer to come closer and touch it. The earthiness and ruggedness of his surface are also suggestive of the times that have gone by.

Universal issues

Tiku’s art may have stemmed from his immediate surroundings but at the same time the issues transcending boundaries become universal. Through ‘The Blue Bridge’, Tiku is talking about bridging the divide. “In Kashmir with so many water bodies around, you can find a number of bridges. Bridges are something that connects and the water which flows beneath also connects. But we are not able to find that connection. Human emotion needs to flow from one place to another,” says Tiku.

Another interesting feature of the show is the Tiku’s papyrus paintings. In 2006, Tiku got a chance to visit his dreamland, Egypt, and he was deeply impressed by Egyptians’ reverence for the Nile, boat, and fascination for the night, stars, pyramids. Tiku has portrayed these elements in these set of works.

(Metaphors in Matter is on at Gallery Espace, New Friends colony, Community Centre till December 6. )


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