Art lovers celebrate golden jubilee of Rock Garden in Chandigarh

November 14th, 2007 - 10:17 am ICT by admin  
Chandigarh, Nov.8 (ANI): Several art lovers from different parts of the country and abroad are participating in the five-day golden jubilee celebrations of the famous Rock Gardens.

Admirers of Nek Chand, the architect of the Rock Garden of Chandigarh have arrived to participate in the 60th anniversary celebrations to salute this octogenarian’s creativity.

Nek Chand, who turns 83, next month, enjoys honorary citizenship in the U.S and in Paris for his creativity.

“It is a very big event and that is why I am here . We have about 14 international delegates coming. There are people who are interested Nek Chand’s work all over the world. We think so much of it,” said Jane Huskins, international volunteer, Nek Chand Foundation, UK.

The event includes a sculpture workshop that will be supervised by US-based artist-designer Nancey Saghetti, Nek Chand and others. The celebrations that started on Wednesday (Nov.7) will last till Sunday (Nov.11).

Spread over 25 acres with sculptures made from assorted waste material like broken electric accessories, discarded and broken tea sets, toilet seats and flush tanks, this Rock Garden took shape during late 1950s. But it was thrown open to the public in 1976.

Rock garden has earned kudos from professionals and academicians from across the world and the existence of the Nek Chand Foundation in the United Kingdom just bespeaks that.

Though the years don’t actually add up to 60, the Nek Chand Foundation decided to hold the diamond jubilee celebrations this year itself.

It is due to the initiative of this same forum and other fans of Nek Chand that the Chandigarh Administration planned the anniversary celebrations at the Rock Garden.

“Delegates have come from United States and UK. They have come to celebrate the diamond jubilee. There will be so many programmes, workshops and other things that will be performed,” said Nek Chand, Founder Director of the Rock Garden in Chandigarh.

Conceptualised and set up by Nek Chand, a man who was neither a born sculptor-artist nor any engineer, the rock garden has stood the test of time. It may be recalled that this innovative garden was on the verge of being demolished twice.

In 1972, an anti-malaria squad deemed it to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Again in 1989, there was a proposal to demolish the third phase of the garden to facilitate a car park and a new road.

Nek Chand and his admirers in Chandigarh formed a human shield preventing the bull-dozers from razing this garden of creativity to the ground.

The garden is today a dream world of its own, showcasing creations like village scenes, waterfalls, tunnels, humans and animals –all from waste material.

Nek Chand’s statues have been exhibited in museums across the world, including an environment at the Capitol Children’s Museum in Washington, DC, and the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin, USA owns the largest collection of Nek Chand’s work outside Chandigarh. The pieces are currently on exhibition there through January 2008 as part of the museum’s focus on artist environment builders, or outsider artists.

In 2007, an exhibition of Nek Chand’s work also took place at the RIBA gallery in Liverpool, UK from April 16 to May 11. The exhibition displayed survey drawings of the garden’s architecture and landscaping, and plans to be a travelling exhibition.

Volunteers from Britain visit the garden twice a year to manually carry out restoration work on Nek Chand’s creations, particularly those vandalised by graffiti and physically damaged in some cases. (ANI)

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