An artist in India is turning scrap metal into sculptures which have now been shown across the world at exhibitions in New York, London and Dubai.
Gopal Namajoshi takes items that have been thrown away or broken and upcycles them into lifesize sculptures of animals. One of his first series of works featured peacocks. He used to feed the birds with his mother as they lived close to his childhood home, which is where the inspiration came from.
Peaceful co-existence between humans and the natural world is a big inspiration for Namajoshi. Reconstructing man-made objects into natural forms opens an "ecological conversation" about how we interact with the world around us, he says.
“As I continue to investigate these 'Ecological Conversations' in metal, and the junkyard I am surrounded with, my goal is to create a new dialogue and awareness about the things that we collect, consume, and discard,” the artist explains.
The contrast between the piles of scrap metal he begins with and the natural forms they turn into helps to create a narrative around rejecting the harmful consumerism of modern society. Western ideas of disposability, he says, are at odds with “the happy and content lives of those animals like deers & peacocks staying amidst nature, the meditative calmness with which they utilize the resources and give back to nature forming a Life-cycle.”
Namjoshi is a follower of the Gandhian teaching about respect for all human life. It is an extension of the ancient Indian concept Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Translated from Sanskrit, this encapsulates the idea that the whole world is one single family with all of our existences inter-woven. Nature is a consistent theme for the artist who feels that the point is not to help animals by using their likeness in art, instead, they are helping us to understand the damage we do to our ecosystems.
“This is what I want to achieve through this installation, to allow for a more critical view of their value." With "consumerism and a daily dose of stress", we are losing out on the "basic simplicity" in life, he concludes.