“Sculpting is a physically demanding art form. It is the art of giving life to raw materials. Sculpting tells stories, transforming simple materials like stone or metal into a body of emotion and expression,” says sculptor, Meena Kayastha.
In the early days of her career, there were not many colleges that taught sculpture. She took up sculpture formally in 2003 and earned a degree in 2007. Her husband is a celebrated photographer, and it was his influence that inspired her to become an artist. She was already exposed to the world of creative arts as her father was a musician and mural artist. But her vision of art widened much later drawing her in deeper as she learned about the different art genres.
“Sculptures are more of a 3D form. We move around a lot, and there is a certain playfulness in the creative process. I tend to use materials that are discarded and thrown away. It is interpreted as a recycling process by others,” she says. Initially Meena used materials like clay, mud and metals, but slowly found herself drawn to discarded material. She researched how to use junk items and studied the technical aspects with her teacher.
“I like playing with junk as I feel I am breaking the stereotypical thought that it is of no further use. I breathe life into discarded items and this gives me a certain satisfaction. Sculpting from junk is a highly creative and experimental process. I am not afraid to take risks or adapt my design as I work. The beauty of art lies in the artists ability to turn discarded objects into meaningful art,” she shares.
Meena now wants to play and work with materials like glass and fabrics. She always looks for interesting shapes, textures, characteristics and what perhaps was the story behind the discarded material. Pieces of metal, wood, plastic, old tools, car parts, and various odds and ends are seen by her from a completely different lens.
Art is a process of evolvement, especially for the artist. Despite the financial difficulties and the different genre she chose to specialise in, she doesn’t plan or follow concepts; she allows herself to flow as she creates.
Her upcoming project is an exhibition at the Himalayan Art Festival. She is also representing Nepal with 12 other artists in New York, besides working on a private exhibition based on the Nepali folklore, “Shyaal Ko Bihe.”
She concludes our meeting by saying,” it hasn’t always been easy, there have been times of self-doubt but I never gave up. Art allows me to explore and grow, and this has changed me fundamentally”.