Structures of Change at the Delhi Arts Society Sculpture Exhibition


Transforming the magnificent garden of Gandhi-King Plaza at the India International Center (IIC), Max Mueller Marg, into a thought-provoking sculpture court, ‘iSculpt for Delhi’ is back in the city with its third edition. This highly anticipated exhibition – organized by the Delhi Arts Society, kicked off on Sunday and will run until December 18 – features intriguing and experimental works by 20 sculptors and three photographers. Inaugurated by Muzaffar Ali, the illustrious director said, “It’s wonderful to see this magnificent set of sculptures here. It is very difficult to tell the difference between nature and the creation of man.

Elaborating on what inspired her to organize such an exhibition, Uma Nair shared, “I went to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC years ago and saw the court of sculpture. I always thought that even in India you could create a sculpture courtyard from a garden. For iSculpt, I wanted something that gives both beauty and peace to anyone looking

Giving us more insight into her experience as a curator and how she selected the sculptures for the exhibition, Nair said, “I’m looking for a standalone piece that can speak and has a message to convey. Sculpture is expression, it is composition. When I choose works for a show, I am very careful to choose works that have a certain strength.

Masterful craftsmanship

At the entrance to the IIC, a sculpture titled ‘Heaven and Earth’ by Neeraj Gupta, president of the Delhi Arts Society, features an elephant laden with pots, plunging its trunk into a handi [a pot used for cooking], imploring its viewers to call for the conservation of endangered elephants. From here, the eye naturally wanders to a tall tree standing in the garden of Gandhi Plaza, which upon closer inspection is Satish Gupta’s work titled ‘Bird Conference’. True to its name, the tree has birds both on its branches and at its base. An ode to the Sufi poem “Conference of the Birds”, written in 1177 AD by Farid ud-Din Attar, the work has as its themes spirituality and man’s journey to unite with God.

Works by artists such as Seema Kohli, Keshari Nanda, Atul Sinha, Ankon Mitra, Rahul Modak, and Dhananjay Singh, among others, are spread throughout the garden. Nimesh Pilla’s work has a proud griffin – a winged lion – with birds emerging from its wings. Describing his piece, he commented, “How do you symbolize power? If you look at mythology, the wings symbolize that you have power beyond yourself. Birds symbolize peace. As long as you have power, you also have the responsibility to ensure peace. ”

Speaking about what inspires him, Pilla added: “I hear a lot of my friends say, ‘I used to do that at school. Your job should not prevent you from doing things. That’s why I try to be part of these exhibitions. Through my work, I want to inspire others and say “If I can do it, you can too”.

Shikha Sinha, an artist who visited the opening of this exhibition, said, “It is a very interesting exhibition. The sculptures are very conceptual, which I like,” adding that she was intrigued by the texture and colors of “Vande Mataram” by Brajesh Verman.


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