AS MORE and more cities across the world, including Chandigarh, are opening to the idea of showcasing art in public spaces and getting people closer to the varied dimensions and intricacies of art, Nek Chand, many decades back, believed in sharing his path-breaking work with a wider audience.
As the son of the creator of Rock Garden, Anuj Saini, hopes to take his father’s vision of unique landscaping to other cities of the country, he shares how Nek Chand created thematic public work, one of the largest collections here in Chandigarh, at the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association Stadium, opposite DAV College in Sector 10.
Saini describes the effort, in the form of more than 15 sculptures here, a permanent display and preserved to perfection as unique, styles and designs that are nowhere else. It was for an important international match in the 1980s that Nek Chand was officially designated to create sculptures and artistic objects using industrial and urban waste, the theme of which was tennis and sports.
“Yes, these are one of a kind and the display and space given to the work is beautiful, with some works more than 15 feet high and I remember helping my father create these, as because of the sheer size, each work would take close to 20 days. Going with the theme, he made tennis players, using varied material, painstakingly creating tennis racquets, and a sporty look and also amazing expressions. For this space, he also made majestic horses as a mark of welcome for all the players and delegates. I remember the works were so big that we needed to get cranes to transport these from the Rock Garden to the stadium and when displayed, these created such a dramatic effect,” recalls Saini.
Nek Chand, as a rule, directly worked with the material, never drawing or making a sketch, but relying on his own thought and imagination. “He also gifted many of his works, sculptures with planters, those holding pots to a park on the Mall Road in Shimla. He believed and wanted that his art should reach wider audiences and that’s precisely why he was always eager to gift his work to public spaces,” sums up Saini.