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Mumbaiwale: The iron man of Mahim

Talent will always shine through. Self-taught sculptor, furniture designer and ironsmith, 52-year-old Raju Sheth is a wizard when it comes to working with metal

mumbai Updated: Apr 11, 2018 19:55 IST
Rachel Lopez
Rachel Lopez
Hindustan Times
Mumbaiwale,Mumbai,Mumbai news
Workers going home, in wrought iron.(Rachel Lopez/HT photo)

The next time you’re stuck in the southbound traffic jam on Mahim Causeway towards Mahim Church, look left towards the strip of woodcarvers’ shops for a free art show. Self-taught sculptor, furniture designer and ironsmith Raju Sheth, 52, puts his newest work up at the entrance of Artmetal Centre so Mumbai can see what he’s been up to.

He’s currently finishing a life-size cast-iron work that he says references the aftermath of GST. “I saw how much it affected the lower classes, the common people,” he says. “Innocent labourers were the worst affected, they had to work doubly hard to keep their pants from falling.”

The metaphor turns real at the shopfront. Sheth has fashioned a bronze-coated man in the act of holding on to his waistband, with a gaping hole where his torso should be. The construction holds up cleverly through the arms and fingers and Sheth says he often sees people taking a second look as they drive past.

Sheth, who lives in Mahim, has been in the business for three decades. His little studio is filled with the kinds of bits and bobs that come from working on a trendy restaurant one day and an industrial complex the next. There are ornamental wall brackets, panels with brand logos, heavy door knockers and four salvaged grilles that feature cameos of Queen Victoria.

The sculpture out front, however, is personal work, as is the set of tall, long-limbed figures alongside. “I see people drive past all day,” he says. “So I created workers going home after a long day.”

Both works are as yet untitled. Sheth seemed delights at the idea of crowdsourcing names from Mumbai residents. So if you’re driving past, have, checking out the display and are feeling particularly creative, hop out and give him your suggestions. The traffic isn’t moving anyway.

Rachel.Lopez@htlive.com

First Published: Apr 11, 2018 19:36 IST