THE SPRAWLING green spaces surrounding the Open Hand monument are abuzz with activity, the creative and artistic kind, as young artists and students are working with varied materials to create art that echoes the spirit of Chandigarh and complements the majestic surroundings of the Capitol Complex, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
An effort of the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, as part of the ongoing Arts and Heritage Festival, the art installation workshop is a work in progress, and a chance for two professional artists and teams of students from the Chandigarh College of Arts and Chandigarh College of Architecture to express their thoughts, ideas, philosophies, hopes for Chandigarh through artistic creations, in this case installations. According to Bheem Malhotra, the chairperson of the Akademi, there wasn’t any theme given for the workshop, but all teams have related their art to the city and the venue of their work.
Stitch by stitch, Manjot Kaur is creating the ‘Human Heartbeat’, an installation that has colour, movement and a larger connect. Using fabric, thread, needles and bamboo, Kaur as part of the work also wants to promote the traditional materials and techniques of Punjab. “As we are working at a world UNESCO heritage site, my work calls for the need for peace, prosperity, love and empathy. We may all live in different spaces, have our own circumstances, needs, limitations, challenges. but we have the same heartbeat,” explains Kaur, who will use bamboo to give the installation movement and height.
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Not too far away, Kanwal Pal is slowly and steadily hanging brass plates, which when the wind blows, create a unique sound and with the Sun’s rays, shine bright. A platform below has figures of children, in complete bliss, after a playful session of rolling in the mud. It’s an installation that Pal says is inspired by the bell that would ring at the end of the day at school, and the complete and freedom that he and his friends experienced. “The space here is also about freedom, open sky, green surroundings, silence giving the visitors a joy that’s priceless,” smiles Pal.
‘Dream Catchers’ is what a team of students of applied art title their work, with the installation comprising many elements — nets, a 13-foot frame representing the O pen Hand, tin wings, a cannon and flowers. According to Tanya Mehtani and Gayatri, the concept is to give meaning to the surroundings, as the work is inspired by freedom, positivity and peace and they are using primary colours, as used by Corbusier here. The installation is also a tribute to those soldiers who sacrificed their life in the Uri attack. “The cannons will be filled with flowers, as the wind blows, the tin wings will work as chimes, as the nets will catch the dreams we all have for Chandigarh and a dove in the shape of Open Hand will fly high,” explain the team members.
From construction materials such as iron, woods, bricks that Corbusier used here, to the basic colours that we see at the Capitol Complex, a team from the College of Architecture is busy making a frame through which people can get a view of the Assembly, while another team is using architectural and art elements to create an optical illusion with a glass box and poly-bird hovering in the air. With various objects and materials, a group of students of sculpture are working on a portrait of Le Corbusier, which would be seen from the middle f two gates being made. Elsewhere, using sound as an element, a group is working with ghungroos to make a beehive, and covering the tree with white material for the hive to have an impact. The installation workshop is open to the public till October 9, and work is nearing final stages near the Open Hand.