Look up to these pillars

The five elements of earth, water, air, fire and space have always fascinated the creative mind. The latest to fall under the spell is artist Girjesh Kumar Singh, an alumnus of the MS University, Baroda, who is showcasing 6-7 feet tall sculptures at the Coomaraswamy Hall. The works of Singh, who comes from a family of farmers in Uttar Pradesh, are characterised by an element of philosophy, and pay tribute to his roots with sculptures of chakkis (stone mills) and okhli (mortar pestle).

The inner surface is engraved with texts from various civilisations

His latest exhibition, titled Often I Miss You, features four pillars of varying sizes (six to seven feet) and a human figure (six and a half feet) made from sandstone. These pillars have an expression of an element on the outside (convex) and are carved with ancient scripts inspired by various civilisations on the inside (concave). One of the pillars shows a human figure carrying a lotus, which represents ether, divinity as well as the multitude of humanity.

The human form stands for divinity and the collective force of humanity

These works reflect memories beyond the worldly realm: “It’s a search for the elusive self, which is not the physical self and, therefore, the memories are not necessarily through experience or past events. My works represent my thoughts, often inspired by Kabir, for whom I have a great regard.”

For Singh, the medium comes first: “I like natural mediums that reveal themselves slowly. I chose stone and brick because I grew up with these materials. Conventionally, an idea needs to be expressed in material but unconventionally, a material provides its own idea or story. When I see brick with cement I feel the brick, even when taken out of its structure (say a wall), carries its identity.”

About the title
“Life’s internal aspects appeal to me. I am looking for what finally matters -- a manifestation of reality, and that is why it’s so individual. Whenever I sense a bit of that reality, I try and express it through my work. The brief nature of that contact is expressed in the title,” says Singh.  

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