ART: A SENSE OF IN­FIN­ITY

Be­ing dif­fer­ently-abled al­lows young artist Na­man Mahipal to ex­pe­ri­ence the world in spe­cial, unique ways. A look at his art­works is vin­di­ca­tion enough

Society - - CONTENTS - By Su­chi­tra Iyer

Be­ing dif­fer­ently-abled al­lows young artist Na­man Mahipal to ex­pe­ri­ence the world in spe­cial, unique ways. A look at his art­works is vin­di­ca­tion enough

Wood and stain­less steel are his favourite medi­ums to work with. Once an ab­stract idea is formed, he goes on to cre­ate a small-scale 3D model to give it shape. Fi­nally, he goes ahead with the ac­tual task of cre­at­ing a phys­i­cal em­bod­i­ment of the model. We are talk­ing about the prodi­gious sculp­tor, 25-year-old Na­man Mahipal. All his cre­ations are an ex­ten­sion of his in­ner­most emo­tions and ex­pres­sions. They have mean­ing, sub­stance and most of all, ex­ude a sense of pride.

A grad­u­ate in Mul­ti­me­dia and An­i­ma­tion from Apee­jay Stya Univer­sity, Gur­gaon, Na­man’s works have found pride of place at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum, New York, and an Art Fair in Sin­ga­pore al­ready. In Delhi, his works have been ex­hib­ited at the In­dia Art Fes­ti­val, ID De­sign, and the In­dia Habi­tat Cen­tre, among other venues. He is also as­so­ci­ated with the NGO, Khushii Foun­da­tion. For Na­man, who has a con­gen­i­tal con­di­tion of be­ing non-ver­bal and hearing im­paired, “art is not some­thing just to be seen, but a cre­ation of an ex­pe­ri­ence for the viewer.” He adds that art does not only as­sist oth­ers in ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the world based on his per­spec­tive, but also helps him over­come the void cre­ated by his con­di­tion. The con­sum­mate artist be­lieves this to be a bless­ing in dis­guise, as he claims it has sharp­ened his abil­ity to see beauty in sim­plic­ity and or­der in chaos. Even as a child, Na­man found him­self in­clined to­wards art, cre­ativ­ity, and work­ing with his hands. Since his hearing was not 100 per cent, it was as if his vis­ual sense made up for the loss. “I think that is one of the rea­sons why from a very young age, I vi­su­alised ev­ery­thing— it was as though I could see an ob­ject and fo­cus on all its di­men­sions, dis­sect it and break it down to a molec­u­lar level. It was as though I wanted to un­der­stand what ‘built’ that par­tic­u­lar ob­ject. And, that is some­thing that hap­pens even to­day,” he ex­plains the artis­tic process. Un­able to speak, Na­man sought a unique form of ex­pres­sion as a child. Be­fore he knew it, he was draw­ing to con­vey his thoughts and feel­ings. To­day, he feels that was the be­gin­ning of his at­trac­tion to art. “I was able to ex­press my­self with ease and on lev­els which were not merely sim­ple words.” For­tu­nately for him, his mother en­cour­aged the method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion her son had de­vel­oped and found it ef­fec­tive. When the teach­ers at school too showed their sup­port, Na­man de­cided to study the arts. “Even­tu­ally, when I went to col­lege, it was clear to me that this was what I wanted to do,” he says.

“From a very young age, I vi­su­alised ev­ery­thing— it was as though I could see an ob­ject and fo­cus on all its di­men­sions, dis­sect it and break it down to a molec­u­lar level.”

Na­man’s cre­ative process in­cludes keen ob­ser­va­tion. He says he loves to sit and watch the world pass him by like a story be­ing un­folded in front of his eyes. “When I ob­serve, I watch peo­ple’s ex­pres­sions and emo­tions, their body lan­guage and aura—and it is as if, each one of us have our own story,” says the young artist, and adds, al­lud­ing it to his oeu­vres, “The var­i­ous com­plex­i­ties and depths that span each and ev­ery emo­tion is what fas­ci­nates me. It is a com­plex sub­ject to try and capture as it is never one-di­men­sional. I in­cor­po­rate a lot of dif­fer­ent fa­cial ex­pres­sions in my art. You can find this theme re­peated across many of my cur­rent works.” What started off as a brush with pen­cil sketch­ing and paint­ing has grad­u­ally made way to sculp­tures. Na­man is more cre­atively sat­is­fied as a sculp­tor. His logic be­ing, “Be­ing three-di­men­sional, they pro­vide a lot more scope for cre­ative ex­pres­sion and that ex­cites me. I am try­ing out a new, mixed-me­dia con­cept which merges my paint­ing and sketch­ing skills with my skills as a sculp­tor, so the fi­nal piece should be in­ter­est­ing.” The artist’s favourite place of work is from home mainly for the lux­ury of space it of­fers him, con­sid­er­ing that he likes to spread out his works, thanks to the in­tri­ca­cies and lay­er­ing tech­niques they in­volve. Be­sides, for Na­man, his home ex­udes pos­i­tive vibes, al­low­ing him to be at his cre­ative best, “Though an idea or in­spi­ra­tion can strike at any place and at any time, some of my most in­ter­est­ing con­cepts have been founded at home, and it gives me the per­fect place to start work­ing on it right away,” he ad­mits hap­pily. Na­man ad­mires the works of all great artists and sculp­tors and is be proud that In­dia is home to so many em­i­nent and recog­nised artists. He nar­rates a mem­o­rable in­ci­dent, “I re­cently had the chance of meet­ing the very well-known In­dian sculp­tor Ram Su­tar ji, who has sculpted some of the most iconic and leg­endary names of In­dia. It was my hon­our to have him come to see my works at an ex­hi­bi­tion, and it was a great moment to hear pos­i­tive feed­back from him about my work, even though my taste and style are a lit­tle mod­ernistic and con­tem­po­rary.” For Na­man, art is all about pos­i­tive en­ergy, and go­ing for­ward, he would like to fur­ther hone his skill and learn more tech­niques to spread the same pos­i­tiv­ity to those around him and the ad­mir­ers of his works. “I am also lucky to have peo­ple who be­lieve in me and are there to guide me, men­tor me, and give me plat­forms to show­case my cre­ations. I’m ex­cited for the fu­ture,” he ends on a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally pos­i­tive note.

“When I ob­serve, I watch peo­ple’s ex­pres­sions and emo­tions, their body lan­guage and aura—and it is as if, each one of us have our own story.”

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