Richa Arya, the sculptor who believes women are more than beauty
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Richa Arya, the sculptor who believes women are more than beauty

The red rusty water flowing through the drains captivated her.

Richa Arya, the sculptor who believes women are more than beauty

Throughout her life, Richa was surrounded by two things- rusted metal and a conservative society. Both aspects shaped her life, making her a sculptor who wants to prove, that women are more than beautiful creatures, they are strong and resilient.

Richa Arya, is a sculptor, who stitches different metal sheets such as iron, brass, and copper with metal wires to create sculptures. The majority of her works are portraits of women.

Growing up in Haryana, she was surrounded by women doing hard labour in the field or the kitchen, yet she felt their contributions were unrecognized and their voices silenced. For her, women were the calmest and yet most powerful beings forces of nature.

Richa too had to fight back at every step of life to find herself. She found it difficult to read and talk to others as she had dyslexia. Her parents sent her to Gurukul in 6th standard. Rich says that in the dull colours and almond-coloured uniforms, the paint colours given to her by her sisters were her only happiness.

During vacations, Richa marvelled at the beautiful metallic sculptors at her grandpa's Haveli. Moreover, young Richa also spent a lot of time at her father's nut and bolt factory. The red rusty water flowing through the drains during the manufacturing process captivated her.

Make an inspired exilir of life events and inspirations, Richa knew she was meant to sculpt metal. Her preferred medium of course became discarded oil or Dalda cans.

Richa completed her bachelor's in sculpture in Fine Arts from Kurukshetra University, and her Master's from- College of Art, Tilak Marg, New Delhi (Delhi University) after which she relocated to Delhi and worked as an independent artist at Kaladham, Greater Noida.

Richa's working process is certainly not for the frail.  She uses various metal sheets, mostly oil cans, and lets them rust in the open air in moisture, then cuts them, cleans them and begins the stitching process. Rich explains that she suffered injuries while cutting tin cans several times but that couldn't stop her from sculpting.

She mentions that in the second year of her bachelor's, she had to choose a special subject, and she chose to sculpt. The decision brought criticism from parents and relatives who said sculpting was not suitable for women.

Richa says because she was a girl, she had to prove herself at every point. She says, "The pandemic may have set in now. But the women have been in quarantine for years. The reason is that they are not allowed to cross the boundary of their home and village."

Richa presented her Solo Exhibition in 2021- Triveni gallery (Supported by Raza Foundation), and Group Exhibitions with Abir foundation Ahmedabad, Shrishti art Gallery Hyderabad, 7th woman Artscape Chandigarh, The State Gallery of Art Hyderabad etc. she also took part in many outdoor camps and workshops like Wood Carving Workshop in NGMA, Lalit Kala Academy Artist Studio, Kala Uday Society Kurukshetra, Ceramic work in Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal.

She also got many awards such as Prafulla Dhanukar All India Merit Award, AIFACS award, Abir Foundation award, 8th woman Artscape Merit award, Prafulla Dhanukar (Haryana) State award among others.

While looking back at her achievements, she says she does count them in awards or money but just the fact that she was able to break out of the clutches of a conservative society and follow her passion. Through her journey, Richa hopes to inspire women who do not have agency and opportunities. In a message to all girls, she says, "Do whatever you want, follow your heart, life is too short to not dream and sabotage your aspirations."