Get inspired

All the world’s a story

Taking inspiration from childhood fables and lores, artist Rajesh Ram’s works certainly have a story tell. Close to the heels of his solo show at the Palette art gallery, New Delhi, he talks to us about his work and inspiration.  

The early years
I grew up listening to stories by my grandparents. Those stories of my childhood have deeply influenced me. Every evening my maternal grandfather would sit down with my and begin his story telling. I also remember spending time in the mohallas. There would always be one character who would creates phrases or muhavras as we called them. My work is a culmination of all these influences. My greatest influence is my background and culture.

Mask Off, Watercolour on paper, 2017

Mask Off, Watercolour on paper, 2017

Career calling
When I became 13 years, I met a professional sculptor and began learning the art. We used to make sculptors of Indian gods and goddesses. Someone suggested that I get a professional degree, and so I applied to art college and so my journey began. My work is generally around phrases, stories and political shoes. One of my early shows Kala Akshar Bhain Barabar which was on phrases. Then I did a show on hybrids. I also did my masters. I learnt a lot by interacting with students and professors.

 

Messenger, Sculpture in bronze, 2017.jpgMessenger, Sculpture in bronze, 2017

Word wise
My work is generally around phrases, stories and political shoes. One of my early shows Kala Akshar Bhain Barabar which was on phrases. Then I did a show on hybrids. I also did my masters. I learnt a lot by interacting with students and professors. I don’t make direct illustrations. I use a little bit of humour and use elements of the phrase in my artwork. For instance, I had made a sculpture Ghar ki murgi daal barabar. While growing up, a common school punishment would be becoming a ‘murga’. So I sculpted a child as a ‘murga’ and called it Ghar ki murgi daal barabar. It creates humour in the situation.

Heart on tree, Sculpture in bronze, 2017.JPGHeart on tree, Sculpture in bronze, 2017

A social statement
When I was in college, I got involved with a strike. In a way, that’s when I became politically inclined. I feature a lot of children in my art. To me, they represent the beginning of life. Children are like clay—they turn out the way you mould them. I also use a lot of Panchatantra characters that I grew up reading about as they are still relevant and relatable. What I found amazing about these stories was that human nature was expressed through animals. Today, our society is becoming concrete. We conveniently forget that animals are an inherent part of our existence. So, I like to include them in my art. Today, we’re just cutting down our jungles to make way for more and more concrete. Through my work, I want to create an emotion and make people aware.

The creative process
Creating a sculpture takes a lot of time and effort. There are drawings, clay work, dyes, wax work and moulds to be worked with before finally adding the metal. It’s certainly a very time consuming process. Each sculpture has its own journey. And no matter what I do, till date, my greatest influence is my background and culture.

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