‘Stone age’ in Delhi, courtesy a unique public art project

Talking about his sculpture made of black stone, Gadanayak says, 'Be it Mecca or Jerusalem or Jagannath Puri, all these spiritual places attach a lot of importance to stone.'

Written by Divya A | New Delhi | Published:May 16, 2016 5:23 am
 delhi, indian sculptors, delhi stone age, lalit kala akademi, new delhi municipal council, NDMC, connaught place, nehru park, pallika bazar, odisha sculptors, orrisa sculptors, indian express delhi, delhi news One of the installations outside Palika Bazar.

Nine Indian sculptors have been chosen to create permanent public artwork for the capital under a special project initiated by the Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) in collaboration with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).

Among the sculptors are Orissa-based award-winning sculptor Adwaita Gadanayak, Rajasthani artist Vinod Patel, Bolla Srinivas Reddy from Telangana (known for his contributions to the beautification of Greater Hyderabad) Baroda-based Deepak Rasaili and Deepak Khatri, also from Gujarat. NDMC chairperson Naresh Kumar says, “The nine sculptures produced by these eminent artists from black stone will be displayed at some major areas in the city.” These areas include Lodhi Garden, Nehru Park in Chanakyapuri and at some key points in Connaught Place.

Talking about his sculpture made of black stone, Gadanayak says, “Be it Mecca or Jerusalem or Jagannath Puri, all these spiritual places attach a lot of importance to stone.” His sculpture will be displayed at Lodhi Garden this week.

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On the other hand, Rasaili’s two-piece work, “The Mountain and the Cloud” is inspired by his own childhood memories. “A mountain is solid, unlike the clouds — they are light, soft and fragile. “The Mountain and the Cloud” is all about the assemblage of two magnificent natures, completely inverse to each other, yet interconnected,” says Rasaili.

For Nehru Park, National Academy award-winning Rajasthani artist Bhupesh Kawadia has created a three-piece work, titled ‘Pyari Dilli’. “… I wanted my work to represent Delhi and pay a tribute to the city. ‘Pyari Dilli’ is a tribute to the capital’s architecture and the legacy it embodies,” he says.

An official from LKA says, “The idea is to give an artistic look to urban landscaping in the New Delhi area. We shortlisted nine lesser-known but award-winning artists from across the country for the same. We did not bind them under any theme and gave them a free hand.”

The project was executed in a record time of 15 days during a camp organised last month at the NDMC park at Mandir Marg. The NDMC and LKA have jointly borne the cost of raw material and logistics, while the artists were paid a honorarium of Rs 1 lakh each.

Over the last two days, NDMC staff has installed three artworks at the busy Palika Bazaar promenade in Connaught Place — Ganesh Gohain’s “The boat carry the history — Tribute to Delhi”, “Inherent Conversation” by S Gopinath and Bhupat Ram Dudi’s “The Mirror”. The rest will be put up this week.

‘Battle for credit’

The project is having its share of trouble. A battle for credit has already ensued between the LKA and NDMC, with the LKA claiming the NDMC — despite a written understanding between the two bodies — has not yet informed them about the proposed locations for the artworks.

Meanwhile, LKA officials alleged that the installation at Palika Bazaar has been no less than shoddy. There are no labels or explanations. Most visitors have been using the artwork as benches, and some hawkers have even set up their stalls on the surface.

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