17 artists create art with Earth at its heart

Tata Steel residency ends with powerful visual reminders to value nature

By Antara Bose in Jamshedpur
  • Published 23.11.18, 12:01 PM
  • Updated 23.11.18, 12:01 PM
  • 2 mins read
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Ceramist Aditi Saraogi at the Art Residency in Centre for Excellence, Jamshedpur, on Wednesday. (Bhola Prasad)

Ceramic birds on a real tree. Discarded industrial junk as sculptures.

The first-of-its-kind Art Residency, a signature art camp organised by Tata Steel at the Centre for Excellence here, ended on Thursday but left powerful messages behind.

The theme being Dharti, during the course of the 13-day residency, 17 eminent artists from all over India — in the field of painting, sculpting and ceramic art — created canvases and pieces on saving mother Earth.

Innovation was the key. Calcutta’s ceramic artist Aditi Saraogi along with her counterpart from Mumbai Neha Pullarwar, created 50 ceramic birds and installed them in one of the champa trees on the Centre of Excellence campus. “We wanted to remind people that nature, like these birds that we created, is most beautiful and most fragile at the same time,” Saraogi said. “We have used and abused nature for a long time. Our birds are a symbolic reminder to people to handle nature with care.”

Participants at Art Residency were Akhilesh Varma (Bhopal), Bose Krishnamachari (Mumbai), Kanchan Chander (Delhi), Murali Cheeroth (Bangalore), Paresh Maity (Delhi), Parvathi Nayar (Chennai), S.G. Vasudev (Bangalore) and Yuriko Lochan (Delhi), all painters; Arun Kumar H.G. (Gurgaon), Dimpy Menon (Bangalore), Pankaj Panwar (Santiniketan) and Ved Prakash Gupta (Baroda), all sculptors; and Aditi Saraogi (Calcutta), Arun Mukhuty (Jamshedpur), Neha Pullarwar and Siraj Saxena (Mumbai) and Vinod Daroz (Baroda), all ceramic artists.

Big names in contemporary sculpture such as Ved Prakash Gupta and Arun Kumar H.G. decided to create pieces from scrap available at the Tata Steel’s yard. Discarded grilles, poles and machinery were transformed into high art with creativity.

Gupta, who created a large sculpture from recycled machinery, said he liked the corporate attitude towards nature in Jamshedpur.

“When I reached here, I liked the city for its greenery. When I visited the factory (Tata Steel plant), I noticed old giant trees were properly preserved. This kind of attention to detail is commendable,” he said.

But he also added that “reminders on safeguarding the environment were necessary in every form possible”. That was why he picked up industrial scrap to make his huge sculpture titled Be a Custodian of the Earth, about 15 feet high, he emphasised. “Also, I won’t allow my sculpture to be painted so that it rusts naturally and perishes over the years. That is also a message,” he added.

Arun Kumar H.G. used iron grilles from Tata Steel’s yard to create a sanctum sanctorum for a banyan tree symbolising how important it was to protect nature.

Tata Steel has a long history of patronage for the arts. It started the landmark Art in Industry camps way back in 1993. The Art Residency takes off from there.