The December sun is gentle by the Siswan Dam on the outskirts of Chandigarh, which is bordered by trees and where people get away to be in the midst of nature, watch birds or trek through the forest. But for the past two months, an unusual activity is going on in its sylvan surroundings as five young men are living a dream here.
And the dream began at the city’s College of Art where they were students a few years back. They have decided not to take up nineto-five jobs, have a steady income and raise a family but work full-time as artists. And they are sweating it out, day in and day out, in the worship of the deity called art.
What brought these youth, in the age group of 26 to 30, together at college was not only their passion for art but also the fact that they all came from rural background to realise their dreams in Le Corbusier’s city. The five friends rented a ‘barsati’ in Sector 15 and would often think of jointly setting up a studio one day. “The dream turned into reality two months ago,” says painter Narinder Moud.
They have named it ‘Studio Scud’ for they wish to scud fast as though driven by the wind with all the energy of youth. “The studio was made possible by the generosity of sculptor Mandeep Maan’s father, Ajaib Singh, a retired principal and now a librarian at the Diwan Singh Kalepani Museum at Siswan,” says sculptor Harpal Shekhupuria. Mandeep adds, “A beginning has been made but now we will build it further with our own earnings.”
And earnings have started trickling in by way of commissioned work, like a mural for a home, fibre-glass palm trees for a real estate company or designs and graphics, with applied artist Virender Singh calling the shots. The beautiful surroundings have also brought about experimentation as Ramandeep Singh who studied sculpture has turned to painting. The gritty five have opened the doors of their studio to young students of art and are running an art residency.
The road is not all that easy with the artists housekeeping and doing commercial jobs to make ends meet, but nevertheless finding time to pursue their art; even using waste material when there are no funds for paper, canvas or stone.