A new lease of life for scrap

Stunning Sculptures

What most people would see as junk translates to potential art in the eyes of Ilyas Ahmed, who has been using metal scraps, rusted tin, nuts, bolts, nails and screws to create unique sculptures of different shapes and sizes. From life-size horses, bulls and lions to aliens, sci-fi creatures, bikes and army tanks, one can see his latest creations on display at Chitrakala Parishath.

Talking about his hobby-turned-profession, Ilyas says, “I had a passion for sculpting as a teenager but no raw material to work with. I somehow got hold of scraps and started creating six inch or one-foot sculptures. Later, I found a demand in the European market and started doing it in a big scale. It’s quite an expensive hobby but it pays equally well. For instance, the small ones cost Rs 3000 here though it goes up to Rs 8000 overseas.”

Made with precision, detail and symmetry, the passion has stayed consistent for 20 years. Describing the process, Ilyas explains, “I decide what figure to make depending on the raw material available. I get the industrial or automobile scrap from suppliers. The material I use is of chromium content and it’s completely shaped using two different welding processes.

There’s a lacquer for the polish using neutral paint, which makes it long-lasting. And I try and avoid cutting the material or removing the rust because I like to retain the natural appeal.”  The reason why he decided to have the exhibition was to show Bangalore his latest sculpture – a realistic, life-like bull that can be seen at the entrance of Chitrakala Parishath. But what is presently keeping the artist busy is his attempt to create moving bikes and cars using scraps, which will add a whole new dimension to his installations.

“Many people are doing recycled material sculpture but it’s the perfection that matters. I want to do something that people rarely attempt to, something hatke. Earlier, a big sculpture took me three months but now, I can finish it in 20 days. I don’t even need an image to physically be there when I’m working — as long as it’s clear in my mind, I can create it,” shares Ilyas, whose pieces can be seen in Innovative Film City, Total Mall and HAL among others.

Ask him which piece is his favourite and he promptly replied, “My favourite piece is in my Mumbai gallery — it’s a dog-headed alien which is 12 feet high.”  Ilyas’ sculptures saw a variety of people attending to have a closer look at his work — from members of the student community to City-based artists. “The sculptures are very creative and beautifully made. I’ve not seen something look so sturdy and yet elegant.This display is different to the extent that my friends and I bunked class to come check it out,” says Spoorthy, a student of Maharani Lakshmi Ammanni College for Women. The exhibition is open till January 27 from 10 am to 7 pm.

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