Valay Shende’s comment on day-to-day life and the trials of the common man are evident in his second solo sculpture exhibition, ongoing at Sakshi Gallery.
Of Nagpur origin, Shende completed a degree in sculpture from the J J School of Art, and had his first solo show in 2007, receiving critical acclaim for his bold language and direct approach to addressing an issue.
In this show, Mumbai’s dabbawallahs and cowsheds, among other subjects, inspire him. “Although the issues that I raise may seem local in nature, they are, in essence, universal,” explains Shende about his artistic concerns.
Having worked on the show for around eight months at his studio in Andheri, the work encompasses four series of sculptures. One is a comment on the situation of farmers in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region.
“The extreme lack of infrastructure has led to mass suicides among the farmers and yet most of us continue to lead our lives apathetically,” he woes.
As a statement against the indifference, Shende has crafted an elaborate dining table whose centerpieces, the salt and pepper shakers, are filled with the ashes of farmers who died producing food. Another work is a series on Mumbai’s
dabbawallahs, made by joining small clocks and titled Management Gurus, where he compliments the dabbawallahs for their error-free and punctual service across the length and breadth of the city for over a century. “I was born and brought up in Nagpur. When I came to Mumbai, I found the dabbawallah’s functioning quite interesting. Also having a tabela in the
middle of a city inspired me to create a work,” he says.
Shende makes direct and bold statements through a series of sculptures where he shows life-size apes pulling human beings in prams. The apes have religious symbols on their bodies, while the human beings are nude.
He states, “I am an artist. I look at things in terms of my creative concerns and I feel the need to comment on the black truths of the society.”
Geetha Mehra, director, Sakshi Gallery says, “In a span of two years, since his first solo, Valay has done a large body of work which is sensitive and insightful.
His works have received international recognition in fairs like Contemporary 2007, Art Miami 2007, Art Dubai 2008, Art Taipei 2008, Pulse Miami 2008 and ARCO 2009.”
Next month, Shende will present his firstinternational solo show in Zurich.