Bond with nature: Bringing home the birds

Sculpture

Even more so, since site-specific installations have begun to hold centre stage in the new age race of catering to a larger global audience, a recent case being the India Art Summit in Delhi where the presence of sculptures was minimal while unbridled experimentation with the medium grabbed the maximum eyeballs.

Asurvedh’s solo show of bronze sculptures, all 20 of them, thus came as a soothing change from the deluge of esoteric art of recent times. Chiselled and carved to perfection, the sculptures being showcased at Gallery Ragini, New Delhi, until October 25 brought back the nostalgia and the charm associated with stalwarts like Ramkinkar Baij and S Radhakrishnan whose mastery over human form and intricate detailing has stood the test of time.

Asurvedh’s role model, however, is his gentle Bharatiya Vidhya Bhawan teacher and sculptor N S Rana, who was present at the opening to bless his “star student” who came to him at the age of 12 to take drawing lessons. “I would always want that when my work is being shown anywhere in the world, people should recognise that it is by an Indian artist,” says Asurvedh, explaining the overwhelming use of birds and their relationship with humans in his work.

Aptly titled ‘Birds Home Coming’, the sculptures are a delightful portrayal of a bird’s ubiquitous presence in our lives, at the same time seeking the harmony that nature and mankind must preserve.

“I grew up in a small village on the outskirts of Delhi where birds were my constant companions. They would be all over my house free of any worry or fear. Birds had to be my muse when I became an artist. Look at the way they patiently go about building their nest, despite it being shattered so many times due to various reasons,” says Asurvedh.
When Asurvedh opted to be a sculptor after he moved to study at Delhi College of Art from where he graduated with a gold medal in MFA, he continued to draw upon the Indian countryside for his subjects and place them in happy co-existence with nature.

Monuments, broken down and soiled with time, and birds, finding their homes in even these crumbling structures, form the basis of his work that speak about the artist’s innate sensitivity and attraction towards nature. His sculptures also portray men, women and children in various postures emphasising human bonding with not only history but also their contemporary surroundings.

Most effective when dealing with emotion, nature and environment, Asurvedh’s works are compositionally strong and carry a poetic rhythm that frees the art work from geometric angularities. His elongated figures suggesting dignity and their proximity with nature bring an added emotion to his sculpture. Works like ‘Joy of Life’ and ‘In Harmony’ almost seduce viewers to touch the sculpture to feel its sophistication. The subtle play of emotion in ‘Family Bonding’, where a couple holds a bird in hand, brings out Asurvedh’s own sensitive self.

Inspired from the 50 years’ celebration of Indian Independence, ‘Pride of India’ is a work that showcases India Gate as a representation of our country, where common men wave the tri-colour in the presence of birds sitting and enjoying the moment. This happy coexistence is the true celebration of Indian independence, according to the artist.

‘Bird Seller’ is another emotional response to government’s drive to free birds from cages. Says the artist, “The bird seller sells his birds to earn one square meal a day, but there exists an emotional quotient beyond this practical business. In this work, you can notice that though the bird seller has left his birds to fly in open air, they are not ready to leave him. The birds and their seller, caught up in an emotional dilemma, are dejected and unwilling to part from each other.”

Some other works like ‘Journey’ and ‘Freedom’ illustrates birds bringing life to an otherwise monotonous routine. ‘Birds Coming Home’, the title work, is perhaps one of the most perfect examples captured in time where man, woman, monument and birds come in proximity with each other, thus carrying all attributes of the Asurvedh’s genre of sculptural finesse.

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