An ongoing artistic exploration that delves into the heart of the Indus Valley's cultural tapestry. Through the medium of sculpture, this project breathes life into the region's history and traditions, infusing them with a touch of contemporary whimsy. Each sculpture in this evolving collection is a testament to the resilience of ancient narratives, reimagined from a modern perspective. These scultpures are created under the mentorship of Malaysian sculptor Chao Harn Kae. As the project unfolds, it continues to celebrate the intricate beauty of South Asian artistic heritage, reminding us that the past can inspire and delight in the present.
Devakī holds a special place in my heart as part of my ongoing exploration in the "Indus Whimsy" sculpture series. This particular piece is a blend of my background in animation visual development and a deep connection to human emotion.
In crafting Devakī, I simplified proportions to their essence while infusing her expression with a profound humanistic quality. Her eyes, captivatingly large and fixed on the sky, exude an aura of enchantment. They invite viewers to share in her sense of wonder—perhaps at the flight of a passing bird or the boundless beauty of the cosmos.
Drawing inspiration from the renowned "Dancing Girl or Sambara" sculpture discovered at Moen Jo Daro, I adorned Devakī's braided hair with a delicate flower, symbolizing purity and harmony with nature. Yet, beneath this symbol of innocence lies a hint of muscularity in her bust, representing both strength and vulnerability.
"Devakī" encapsulates the delicate balance between simplicity and depth, inviting contemplation of the intricate interplay between power and grace, awe and serenity. It's my way of conveying the timeless emotions of humble gratitude and boundless awe through this piece.
At this stage, I was thinking about the pose and exaggerated and stylised facial proportions, a technique usually employed in animation visual development.
After spending some time on the bust, I proceeded to define her features, learning through trial and error.
After the first firing, I painted iron oxide and clear glaze where needed, using white of the clay for the eyeballs.
I then moved on to building her base structure under the guidance of master Chao.
When I was satisfied with the expression on her face, I started to define the soft and hard edges, creating contrast through texturing and smoothing.
Result after the second firing.
After bringing her to my studio, I added a second layer of paint this time to get the desired result. I used acrlyic and some makeup pigments for the gradients I wanted.
Final look of Devaki
"Jivraja" meaning creature-king, emerged from my first sculptural exploration under the mentorship of Master Chao. This head sculpture is a tribute to his whimsical human-animal hybrids, which left an indelible mark on my creative perspective.
The sculpture's eyes hold a depth that beckons you to gaze into the distant realms of imagination. The sharpness of the nose echoes Indian features, subtly evoking a sense of familiarity with ancient roots. There's a certain regal and wise quality to it, almost as if it's a king draped in the elegance of drag.
The texture and paint on the face, appearing wet and alive, symbolize the essence of life itself. It's a celebration of vitality, highlighting the beauty in imperfection and the profound connection between humanity and the natural world.
In crafting Jivraja, I drew inspiration from the enigmatic sculptures of the Indus Valley like other pieces in this project. These ancient artifacts tell stories of civilizations long past, and in their simplicity, they capture the essence of life's mysteries. The sculpture is a bridge between these ancient wonders and the contemporary whimsy of Master Chao's teachings, a testament to the enduring power of art to connect cultures and generations.
I stated with familiarzing myself with the material and then creating guidelines for where I want my features to go.
Went for a heart-like shape for the ears. It was quite a spontaneous descision. This is what the head looked like after the first firing. I enjoyed playing around with different texture tools here.
After firing, the texture gave this wet look to Jivaraj but the rest of the head gave too much contrast and no transitional feeling.
Proceeded with sculpting the features. I was thinking about how saints' and poets' eyes are represented in south asian sculptures
I loved the feeling that iron-oxide was giving at this stage. It was hard to predict what it would look like after the second firing but at this stage it was looking like red clay I'd seen back in Sindh.
So, after a few months, I decided to paint the rest of him in same acrylic colors I used for Devaki. This gave him a regal quality.
Final look of Jivraja