IT is a special moment for Bhupinder Singh, sculptor and ceramic artist, who has received the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi’s Fellowship Award of Rs 1 lakh, sponsored by the Sohan Quadri Foundation. One of the few professional potters in the city, Bhupinder is busy these days setting up a ceramics studio in Mohali for taking his work to another level, and also to encourage other artists to use the space for creative and artistic pursuits. “The fellowship is a validation of my efforts and dedication to the art of ceramics which I have pursued against all odds and it gives me the motivation to work in this area, apart from teaching the art,” reflects Bhupinder, a graduate of the Government College of Art, Chandigarh.
The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi is consistently promoting art activities in the region, exposing audiences to varied disciplines of art through exhibitions, workshops, slide lectures, film screenings, discussions, and debates. With the belief that art and artists not only need promotion but also support, the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi has initiated and developed a fellowship award of Rs 1 lakh, sponsored by the Sohan Quadri Foundation. The fellowship is aimed at providing talented artists a platform to continue their research, to develop new ideas in their respective disciplines and to encourage deeper engagement with art and their surroundings.
This year, the fellowship award to Singh was recommended by the jury comprising Avtarjeet Singh Dhanjal, internationally acclaimed sculptor from London and Dattatrya Apte, renowned printmaker from New Delhi. The Akademi received 20 entries for the scholarship, out of which the jury selected Bhupinder for the fellowship. As part of the fellowship, Bhupinder will attend training at Golden Bridge Pottery, Pondicherry, for a few months to enhance his skill in the field of ceramics, with the Akademi helping him set up a ceramics studio to enrich and enhance knowledge of artists in the field and also to support Bhupinder’s work.
From being a student of medicine to then pursuing the arts, Bhupinder says the journey has been an exciting learning experience, though there have been many challenges. “I took a year off after my plus two, to understand the basics of art, and learn its many intricacies and when I got selected in the College, I was chosen for sculpture, pursuing the foundation course in the first year. In the second year, we were given the composition class and to be honest, it was an intimidating experience. Pottery began in the second year, and when I put my hands in the clay, I knew this is what I wanted to do all my life,” recalls Bhupinder.
Since then, there has been no looking back, with Bhupinder among the very few at his college to take up pottery full-time. For the young ceramics artist, pottery is like meditation, which requires complete focus and concentration from the start to the end. It is a process in which concentration matters the most, and also there is a sense of surprise in the end.
“For me, pottery is meditation. I cannot lose focus for a second. It brings me closer to myself and so many aspects of life. I create the Buddha in many forms and manifestations. This series also conveys the principle of peace of mind. My forms are simple and impactful, and I don’t like to complicate my work. I am also teaching pottery now, and this fellowship will help me give my work a new direction,” adds Bhupinder. Like painting and sculpture, pottery is now considered an art form, reflects Bhupinder, who adds that people now both appreciate and buy potters, with many platforms open for ceramic artists like him. “It is a passion for life and I am looking forward to new journeys.”