Under a blue-tarpaulin sheet studio outside a two-room space, shared with his family in the eastern Madhya Pradesh village of Sonpuri, Sukhandi Vyam, has, since he was nine years old, been an artist. Commissioned by Wieden+Kennedy in collaboration with Navayana Publishing, his solo exhibition, says art historian John Bowles, is the first-ever ‘show' of Pardhan Gond sculptures.
The pieces are charming and are backed by interesting stories. Sukhandi's creation of the Artist (there are two pieces of this, one with five hands, the other with four) is an unusual figure. Each hand carries a brush, on its head is a cap and in one of the two pieces, the phallus becomes the third leg.
Reason? "Nakedness is the truest expression of art; an artist may think up the world but he is really unconscious of everything around him while he is at it," he says.
Dog Father, Fox Mother, their Daughter, a story and a sculpture that Sukhandi can talk about for over more than three hours, in short, is about the coupling of a fox and a dog and the birth of their child. Sukhandi's art is in fact replete with animal imagery — a pair of owls, snakes, mongoose, tigers, monkeys — and life and times of a Gond village. The most expensive piece in the collection, the Artist is priced at Rs 1,90,000 for the shorter version and Rs 2,50,000 for the taller one.
Dog Father, Fox Mother, their Daughter and other stories is on from March 24 till April 27 at Wieden+Kennedy art gallery, Sheikh Sarai Phase 1. Call 011- 46009595