The Dabbawala

The reason I started this blog was purely because I choose to celebrate creativity and creators… because I live to honour aesthetics with substance… because I believe that in the world we live in, both, the aesthete and the creative, contribute an amazing amount of positivity by simply indulging in more of what they do well. It shall be my endeavour therefore to highlight the work of all those who have made it their mission in life to create from their very spirit… and create original.

My dear friend and Indian artist, Subodh Gupta employs many of the original techniques of French conceptualist Marcel Duchamp by elevating the ordinary into art objects. Subodh hails from Bihar (not necessarily known as the hotbed of creativity) and today is considered one of the greatest contemporary artists of India besides enjoying a loyal and influential following internationally. His story is commendable, the stuff that inspires many: Gupta was born one of seven children in Patna, Bihar. His father, a railway guard, passed away in his early forties, when Gupta was 12. His mother came from a farming family and sent Gupta to live with her brother for few years in a remote village. “On leaving school, he joined a small theatre group and worked as an actor for five years. He also designed posters to advertise the plays, which is when it was first suggested that he go to art college. He ended up working as a part-time newspaper designer and illustrator while studying at the College of Art, Patna (from 1983-1988). The day he was offered a permanent job by the newspaper, he decided to try his luck in Delhi, where he was awarded a scholarship by a government-run initiative, and a space to work in the Ghari Studios”, wrote Dougary in her 2009 article, “Subodh Gupta, India’s hottest new artist, talks about skulls, milk pails and cow dung”. Gupta also met artist Bharti Kher (another brilliant creator) during this residency at Garhi. They were soon married and subsequently had two children.

I still remember, when I was making images of him as one of my subjects in my debut Photography show in 2011, Decoded Paradox, he told me that it took him 29 long years to finally get noticed. And today, you simply cannot afford to ignore this man and his work!

His latest show projects Metal art at its finest and done by one who does it best; his first mega show in Mumbai in December 2016 held after 10 years had him experimenting with his favorite pots and pans through several unexpected and unique interpretations. Be prepared for crushed metal, large metal, suspended metal, reverberating metal, painted metal and noisy metal… In this sci-fi meets junkyard world, Subodh creates a larger than life experience that is sure to get the collectors and commoners salivating!

‘The’ dabbawala had finally arrived in the city of dabbawalas!


Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media


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