As Manish Waghdare prepares for his show, Humble Obsolete, that begins next week at Jehangir Art Gallery, his sculptures of day-to-day life objects tend to make the viewer feel incredibly small.
There’s an iron, a poopsie bottle, a juicer, a camera, a lock and key and a sewing machine, and these overpower the viewer.
All these are in larger-than-life sizes — his unique take on objects.
“These objects are humble, because they did their work with sincerity. They are obsolete, because they are most often taken for granted. I want to glorify the objects as sculptures,” says Waghdare, giving the finishing touch to a sculpture at his studio in Kandivli.
The wooden sculptures stand out, other than their size, for the antique finish he has managed to achieve. Having practised in different materials like polyester resin, wood and metal, wood remains his favourite.
His interest in sculpture began 25 years back, at the age of 15, when he started helping his father, Vishwanath Waghdare, who used to make signages. He experimented with different materials then. Later, he joined the J J School of Art and
Thereafter he worked with architects and interior designers. He is happy to mention one of his works, the foot impression of artist M F Husain, at Joy Shoes, at the Old Taj.
He continued with his father’s signage workshop. Waghdare ended up calling it Signs and Things because his father made signs and he makes sculptures.
Early this year, Waghdare was one of 15 sculptors from around the world, invited to France for ice sculpting. When in France, he got a call from his wife who informed him that he had received a slot of dates for an exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery. “I started sketching right then,” he smiles.
He took eight months to complete the six sculptures, part of this show, each weighing around 45 kg. The sculptures are all inspired from antiques. “I used to roam around Chor Bazaar a lot. And that’s how I got inclined towards making these.”
He adds, “Things keep changing. What is a trend today becomes outdated tomorrow. New products keep coming in the market, but the life and durability of these products is far less than the antiques. Antiques are like old songs that still sound
He translates all these ideas into sculptures and works of art in a bid to lift their significance.