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Sculpting Deserves Wider Public Appreciation: Dr Karan Singh

In Arts
December 11, 2023

The country’s rich heritage of sculpting and architecture merits stronger efforts by the government to ensure a wider appreciation of the two arts in modern times, according to renowned poet-philosopher Dr Karan Singh.

“We have such a grand legacy when it comes to sculptures. Contemporary sensibilities keep lending them new forms. We need more people to see the works,” the nonagenarian cultural personality noted at an art show being organised on the centenary year of iconic scholar Keshav Malik.

Highlighting the need for an administrative system that promotes sculpting and its ardent followers, Dr Singh said even aesthetes often had just a “hazy notion” about modern art. “This should go. More people should view sculptures; more should buy them as well,” he observed, releasing the catalogue of the milestone ‘iSculpt’ exhibition in the national capital.

The December 7-21 show, being organised by Delhi Art Society (DAC) in association with the Indian International Centre (IIC), features masterpieces by half-a-dozen modern masters. Curated by art historian Uma Nair, the 15-day event at the IIC premises marks the start of the 100th year of Malik, who wrote regularly for leading newspapers and edited the literary weekly Thought, besides serving at the National Gallery of Modern Art and the equally prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi.

Dr Singh, while noting that sculpting is a “difficult art”, said the ongoing exhibition has taken care to represent not just the various genres and mediums of the domain, but also its exponents across the country. “To give an overall view of modern sculpting and yet focus on certain high points is challenging,” he noted, while also recalling his close ties with Malik (1924-2014). “This show has succeeded in paying its tribute to the great man.”

The 60-page catalogue is a DAS publication, which designer Mukesh Mishra conceptualised along with fellow Delhi-ite Uma Nair. The multi-colour book with rich content is sponsored by Tarun Khanna of 108artprojects.com.

Curator Uma, while lauding Dr Singh as an “enlightened voice from the past”, said her show features both established and emerging sculptors, besides nine-monochrome set by young Manoj Arora. Overall, iSculpt throws brighter light on sculpting and photography — two areas Malik loved, but didn’t earn deserving acknowledgement from the circles.

Sculptor Neeraj Gupta, who is president of the DAS which Malik founded in 2005, stressed on the need for public art to grow in the country. “We have enough organisations and galleries to promote paintings as well as sculpting, yet art at public places remains largely ignored,” he said. “We are working towards a reformation on this front.”

Earlier, Uma, accompanied by Neeraj, took Dr Singh on a curatorial walk at the main venue at the pool-side Gandhi King Plaza. The weekend ceremony was also attended by some of the sculptors at the show.

Among the artists at iSculpt, besides Neeraj, are Amar Nath Sehgal, Satish Gupta, Himmat Shah and G. Reghu. While women (Sonia Sareen and late Rini Dhumal) total two, the mediums of the works overall include wood, stone, metal and terracotta. The others are Arun Pandit, Biman Das, Dhananjay Singh, Harsha Durugadda, S.D. Hariprasad, Parmod Mann, Rajesh Ram, Nimesh Pilla, Phaneendra Nath Chaturvedi, Muzaffar Ali, N.S. Rana, Ankon Mitra, Vipul Kumar, Satish Gujral, Ram Kumar Manna and Bhola Kumar.

The event got off to a start on December 7 when Sangeet Natak Akademi former Secretary Usha Malik lit the ceremonial lamp. Dermatologist-cosmetologist Dr Simal Soin and fashion designer Ritu Beri formally announced iSculpt open. Adding vibrancy to the evening was an invocatory dance by Bharatanatyam exponent Geeta Chandran.

Entry for iSculpt is free. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. No break on Sundays.