Did you ever imagine that copper and steel, glazed with colour and put through fire, could be art? Metal enameling, an art form slowly finding favour in Delhi, makes copper, steel, gold and silver the new canvas for enamel art work. Glass Twice Fired, an exhibition of artworks by Veenu Shah, Kana Lomror and Jyoti Singh, introduces the city to this fascinating art form.
The art work involves hammering the metal into shape, sprinkling on the colour and burning it in a kiln. And the artist has to keep an eye on the kiln to ensure that the colours don’t burn or fade.
Jyoti Singh, who works with copper, says she spends hours hammering copper plates into the required shape. “I can hammer away at it to give it a sculptural feel,” she says. Her trademark style is tantric shapes in copper beaten to resemble the feminine form. “The detail on our work is like Meenakari work in a contemporary form,” adds Singh.
Kana Lomror, who has been exploring metal-enamel art for almost ten years, says the art form is taught only in big art universities like Baroda and Santiniketan. “In India, enameling was traditionally used in jewellery, but as an art form it has yet to gain recognition. A professor from England came and taught us this art form in 2000 when I was doing my Masters in Santiniketan,” he explains. Lormor’s work includes an ancient Chinese technique called Cloisonné, that uses wires to segregate the colours. “I have adapted it differently; I use metal wire to define shapes,” he explains.
Shah began learning enameling 40 years ago in Washington and continued taking up courses in Japan, UK and US. Talking about the art form she says, “Enamel work lasts very long and just needs to be dusted periodically in order to be maintained. The base canvas can vary from paper thin foil to 16-gauge copper and the range of creativity is amazing.” However, the art form remains unnoticed by the art world and Shah says that the aim of this exhibition and all the artists is to promote it. “We want the works to go out art lovers, so we’ve kept the prices affordable,” says Shah. Prices of the works range from
Rs 10,000 to a lakh.
The exhibition is on at The Experimental Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, from February 18 to February 23.