Landmark

A Vernacular Sculpted Installation / March, 2016

At Village Jaipura, Ludhiana, Punjab

Published: Emergent Art Space / Forum

Landmark 5

Landmarks are an integral part of our stories, imaginations and memories. They appear in our conversation and description of folklores.

In India, many families who live in cities have roots in villages where their ancestors lived, going back to village is special to all those who relish the fragrance of mud, starry nights, farms, fresh air and simple rustic lives. People delight in sharing anecdotes and stories of their villages, their memorable landmarks, shops, streets or chowk where their forefathers use to meet, play and spend evenings or places from where all villagers usually pass by.

Landmarks belong to all; they belong to the whole community that grows around.

I feel deep belonging to villages even though I grew up in Patiala city. I always love to go back to villages, spend time in farms, walk in gullies (village streets), watch activities and assimilate experiences through my art.

LANDMARK: Design and Form Evolution

This project is an effort to explore an earthen craft process by creating a life-size sculpted landmark using vernacular elements and antique objects as a symbol of tangible heritage and associated intangible traditional values.

The Sculpted structure and its aesthetic form has evolved from my imaginative process but its basic form is inspired from a typical conical enclosures crafted by villagers in fields of Punjab called “Guhara” and “Kupp”. Guhara is basically used to store cow dung cake and Kupp is made up of dry wheat grass and is used to store waste of wheat crop; that is later used to feed Cattle and Buffaloes.

Rural craft objects as a symbol of tradition craft heritage:

Some old broken craft objects used in the sculpture are the symbol of tangible craft heritage for example “Charkha”a traditional spinning wheel, “Madhani” a traditional churn and some other rural elements like earthen pots, bamboo ladder and typical cow dung cakes used over the surface represents vernacular heritage.

Due to the advancement in technology and adaptation of new machines, the handcrafted Charkha and Madhani are no more in use in villages; the whole lifestyle is slowly changing; now there is no functional value of these ethnic objects.

Efforts are been made to give them another life by using them as an integral part of installation. The purpose is to visually revive and conserve the value of traditional craft and making them visible to young generations of village. Rather putting them in dusty stores, better use them in some new art form.

Like this kind of sculptures in fields may help young kids to connect with their cultural wisdom and inspire to explore associated traditional values and folklores.

My future plan is to create more and more vernacular installations in the fields and public activity spaces of different villages involving local communities and kids.

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Size: Lower Dia: 7’ , Upper Dia 5’ / Height 9’

Mediums: Bamboo, Wood, Jute Ropes and Bags, Mud, Husk, Cow dung, Peepal Leaves, Earthen Pots, Antique “Charkha”a traditional spinning wheel and “Madhani” a traditional churn.

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Work In Progress

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Concept, Craft Work and Photo Documentation: Darshan Singh Grewal

Assisting Artists: Arun Bawa and Jagmeet Singh Bhatti