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Vipul Kumar
curatorial

Born in Sitamarhi, the region of Bihar nearest to the Indo-Nepal border, Vipul Kumar's interest in art was ignited by watching village sculptors fashion figurines of deities from clay for festivals. He enrolled at the Banaras Hindu University for a degree in Applied Art in 1987 but finding sculpture a far more creatively satisfying discipline, switched over to Fine Arts, graduating in 1993 with a Bachelors degree and in 1995, a Masters degree as well.

During this period, Kumar studied under the tutelage of the eminent sculptor Balbir Singh Katt, who was in turn schooled in sculpture at Santiniketan under the legendary modernist Ramkinkar Baij. Kumar imbibed Katt's technique as well as his profound humanism. Kumar's works dwell on the relationship between nature and humankind, as well as the cyclical aspect of time as it manifests in volcanic surges and contoured soil formations or ravaged cityscapes.

In the last decade, Kumar began exploring ceramics, porcelain and stoneware as a sculptural medium, another vehicle for his ruminations on the dichotomies of matter and emptiness, construction and decay. The forms evoked by his sculptures range from tree, plant and human forms to miniature versions of ruined habitations. His works are however not figurative or direct but give the viewer a hint of the form and move towards formal qualities like texture, pure form and colour. For the airport project, Kumar has used these various qualities towards creating a city- scape that is lively, complex and evocative of the hustle and bustle of Mumbai.

This is his first large public art project. "I haven't done a public art project like this before ... what I liked most about the project was that I got the freedom to work to my own brief, I had room for my creativity and I was able to develop the idea from a seed to its fruition", says Kumar. "As far as challenges go, there were a few technicalities that had to be worked out but the most difficult was creating the jail-like relief work that is pretty intricate", says Kumar.

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