Artist Neeraj Gupta’s ‘Covid-19’ sculpture exhibition at India Habitat Center from February 14 to 28

New Delhi: After getting the entire city of Delhi to eulogies over his elephant installation Heaven and Earth at iSculpt 3 at the India International Centre Artist Neeraj Gupta’s latest unveiling is a small curious and quaint sculpture created out of driftwood and logs entitled Human Catastrophe.

An animated creation of angst-ridden limbs and evocations, this sculpture at India Habitat Centre’s open space is a heady creation that is a signature of an artist’s torment and tribulations faced during the pandemic. This sculpture exhibition, organized in the open ground of India Habitat Center till February 28.

Delhi Art Society’s President and eminent artist Neeraj Gupta in an interview yesterday states: “The Sculpture depicts the immeasurable grief and human suffering the world saw through this Corona Pandemic. The sheer scale of deaths, destruction, and suffering made a significant socio-political disturbance and turned Humanity into a heap of skeletons during the peak. It is this overwhelming sentiment of seeing one grief-stricken and scarred and the almost unthinkable impact of the mass deaths, widespread grief and untold sorrow that humanity faced is represented through this work.”

The human body is central to how we understand facets of identity such as gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. This work has many facets; it embodies all kinds of emotions and upheavals, and tragedies in the wake of the pandemic.

The title of this small but enchanting sculpture —on a familiar, indeed almost topical subject that has taken over the world is intriguing and intentionally paradoxical. It echoes the journey that the world has witnessed, renders it moreover a milestone of melancholia and misery in its own right. Neeraj says: “The work might do the best possible job of explaining to the  world what it  feels  like to see people, families, and societies be irreparably torn apart.”

But at India Habitat’s central space sitting opposite Ray Meeker’s ceramic wonder, this sculpture presents the idea of creating a welcoming space, flexible, inclusive, and architecturally characterized, as it offers new possibilities of dialogue between the artworks and the numerous traces of the story of this life in the year 2022.

It speaks also of the importance of public art in spaces so that the art fraternity is supported and encouraged to keep creating. Sitting here in the sunlight of this winter morning this work brings about an unprecedented dialogue about the plight of sculptors all across India.

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