The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) has put on a month-long display of Gupta’s leading signature work titled Cheap Rice, an installation work with bronze, metal over a standing rickshaw. “We are trying to redefine the whole public art philosophy,” says the gallery’s director, Roobina Karode. Made in 2006 and one of Gupta’s most iconic expressions using household utensils and metal, Cheap Rice tells the tale of India’s poverty drawing metaphors from the daily hard life of a rickshawpuller, as also it makes an oblique commentary on the ancient pind daan rituals, which involve rice.
In the installation, a standing rickshaw, is overloaded with a huge heap of lotas (small metallic pots), used mostly in village. “He (Gupta) was in Varanasi when he saw this, a rickshaw-wallah pulling an overloaded heap of lotas and he said he could never get that image out of his head, which is where his inspiration comes from,” says Karode.