Art of Trupti Patel

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Earthly Gems

If someone is thinking a step ahead of the surroundings, that person is looked at as an unusual yet another time as an adamant person in the society. When Trupti Patel joined the Faculty of Fine Arts Baroda in 1974, to study the art of Sculpting, it was a period of different understanding about the terracotta clay material. Clay was used as a Maquet material, for making a sample form but not used as art material for making the full round sculpture. Stone, metal kind of conventional materials alone were used as the materials for sculpture making. Trupti had a different understanding about the meanings of clay and it’s earthiness. She wanted to make a full sculptural form with terracotta clay and she was disappointed when teachers did not agree for the same. But she made what she wanted, and received appreciation on final result of her work. She went to Royal College of London to study ceramics specialization on a scholarship for her further studies. She lived there more than a decade and created ceramic sculptures. 2 decades back she is back to Baroda, Gujarat her native place and living in Baroda since then.

Trupti was born in 1957 in East Africa, but her schooling was done in India. Whether she was in boarding school or at grandfather’s place she made friends with local flora, fauna, nature and surroundings. She feels the fruits and flowers and can senses their flavors. The nature on it’s colors and essence is very dear to her. When she returned from London, what made her extremely pleasant are, her childhood associates, fruits and flowers, vegetables and their colors and smells. Every fruit or vegetable has one specific character. There is a relation between their color, taste and their temperament. She created “101 sips” as a project, consisting of 101 ladles, thinking on the similar lines. The fruits, flowers or vegetables are created as vessels having a glaze that corresponds to its charismatic smells and taste. The handle of that vessel represents the character of the corresponding tree/herb/shrub, completing the ladle shape, as a sculptural form. It is a different way of presenting the nature by Trupti, a ceramist and a sculptor.

For Trupti every sculpture is only an end product. Dominating interim is thinking about the life and the surroundings and the interactions, History of the places we live in. She collected clay from the states of tropic of cancer in India and created a sculpture out of that clay, similarly another sculpture is made out of the places of Gujarat and yet another is on its way of creating from all the states of our country. This sort of collected clay what she calls as ‘composite clay’ and she believes every region’ clay is contented with the History of it’s place.

Our society has certain specific rituals and beliefs symbolically wishing each other for good through certain symbolic objects. Door-jamb, or threshold on the doors are one of such objects we added value. That threshold differentiates inside from the outside of the house. We worship that threshold for keeping the evils out and for inviting the good inside the house. Newly wedded young girl crosses that threshold with all the good wishes and the ritual of crossing that threshold alone symbolizes her entry into her in laws house. In these processes this threshold is becoming a symbol of strength. Trupti’ threshold series represent many such ideas of our day to day life. “Looking at her” is her another series tapping the onlooker in a subtle way that when you look a women, understand her in totality, she is a human being having many thoughts and feelings not just an object of beauty.

She does many ecological projects also. Her attachment with the Nature, earth/ clay has resulted into another dimension of activity. She has started farming her land with indigenous seeds, she uses the same at home what she grows in her farming land and supplies those indigenous seeds to the rural farmers. Trupti looks at this project also as her creative and productive work.           

Dr.M.Balamani

image-detail of ‘101 sips’

[This article is a translation of the article originally published in Sopathi, Sunday Magazine, Navatelangana Telugu News paper on 1st September 2019]

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