Delhi: Artist Pintu Sikder believes that present-day materialism has now seeped into our bodies. There is a sculpture of a vertebral column with structures surmounted on it. “Our backbone is now constructed of buildings. The man is becoming very robotic day by day. One also sees a human ear with words flowing out of it which reflects noise.
What can a brass nut say about the world? In this case, a lot. Artist Pintu Sikder uses sheets of brass nut to reflect on the present world of materialism. His works are being displayed under the title ‘Shelter’ at Shridharani Gallery, Triveni Art Gallery in Mandi House from April 21 to May 10, 2022. One recent evening, I got the opportunity to view his work through his vision.
According to Sikder, over the years, with what we called ‘modernization’ and ‘development’, the world seems to have moved away from personalised natural elements to a mechanical existence. This transformation has given rise to materialism, noise and chaos evident in everyday life from households to industries, the body and the mind.
To begin, his work is intriguing. One can see large and small sculptures made with textured sheets of brass nuts, which he mentions is his key medium. Mostly, all are objects of ordinary household lives. However, each embeds within them profound meaning. The sculptures either reflect the deep juxtaposition between nature and modern industrialization or comment on the national and international state of affairs. So, we have a comb with ammunitions in them, a chair with political symbols, a lock from 1947 with hundred of keys, and a vertebral column with man-made made structures mounted on each rib.
A chair made of brass nut has meaning hidden meanings behind it. “It could be any household chair but it is also a political chair. The first thing that a political party says after their term is ‘Don’t Blame Me’. The transfer of political power is also greatly influenced by industrialization and business forces. The brass nut is also a key element of industrialization which holds politics.” The base of the chair has a puzzle with party symbols that reflects the game of politics.
He continues, “Similarly, in 1947, the Indian railways were nationalized and now we are slowly privatizing it. Thus, giving added impetus to industrialization.”
Coming to the umbrella and clothes, Sikder explains, “Cotton suta made from traditional weaving traditions had a softness to them. Mass production lacks that texture or that beauty. It is like coming from a lifestyle of cotton to synthetic.”
Moreover, Sikder has created a structure of the Buddha. “I have carved the image from caves that are slowly deconstructing. Caves where Buddha once resided are now being broken to make buildings. The significance of Buddhism is slowly disappearing.”
Sikder believes that his collection ‘Shelter’ then becomes his refuge in a world of materialism and also a widespread longing of the soul for peace, nature and harmony.
We finally come to perhaps his most interesting work. This structure is called ‘Hair for Peace’. In place of stands, there are guns of different sizes which catch your attention immediately. He says, “In many religions, people donate their hair for many personal desires. Seldom does anyone think about the World? So I have decided that if the current World War like situation dissipates, I will donate my hair.” I asked him, “Is that a personal resolve” to which he replied “Yes”.
Pintu Sikder completed his Master’s in fine Arts from Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkota. His works have been regularly exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Kolkota, New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. You will find Pintu Sikder humbly introducing his wonderful work to visitors at the Sridharni gallery from 11 am to 7 pm. You can see his other works at https://www.pintusikder.com/