The abstract forms made in wrought iron could well be worthy to be displayed in an art gallery. The truth is they are far from a gallery setting, these are wrought iron craft objects made by a community in India from the Bastar District, which is in central India. It is called Lohshilp in the local language and is one of the most unique and oldest crafts of the region; which previously used to make farming and hunting implements for tribes.
The craft is now slowly evolving into an art form, and gaining worldwide recognition. The craftsmen are responding to the present culture and that is reflected in the new forms created.
The Mother with Umbrella and Child is my favourite piece, the detail of the child’s arm wrapped around the mother, the wide hips of the mother on which the child rests, and the umbrella with a hole in it. The craftsman is sensitive to portray reality of a villager inIndia. The aesthetic appeal, generated from the simplistic forms show a deeper understanding of abstraction of form, which many artists struggle to achieve in metal.
Sometimes I think, the process of making teaches you more, than conceptualising… the craftsmen at Bastar have discovered the interesting abstract forms intuitively, what we try so hard to teach in Art and Design schools.
All Images Courtesy Palash Vaswani, IDC, IIT Bombay,India