Shaping scrap

ByProma Chakraborty

Jan 31, 2019

Veteran painter Rameshwar Broota has found a new medium and a new source of creativity: sculptures using shredded paper with resin

It all started back in 2016 at the office-cum-studio of Triveni Kala Sangam.
The enormous stacks of waste paper that his shredding machine was generating caught the eye of veteran artist Rameshwar Broota. Finding these streamers extremely interesting, he wondered how he could retain their beauty in a sculpture form.
Looking for a transparent material to transform the papers, he spent days researching on the Internet that finally led him to ‘epoxyresin’­— he discovered that the material was usually blended with colour for industrial use.
With a career spanning over for five decades, Broota always had a fancy for experimentation. Showcasing a new body of sculptural works and wall-mounted paintings created using resin, the 78-year-old artist is displaying his works at the ongoing exhibition titled ‘Scripted in Time II’, which also includes photographs.
“I started working on this body of work three years ago,” says Broota, who is the Head of Department at Triveni Kala Sangam since 1967. “I have since then broken and discarded several pieces before I was finally satisfied with what I wanted to achieve with resin.”
Not an easy material to work with, he explains that it freezes in 24 hours at room temperature so one has to work really quick. “It comes in different viscosity, so one has to mix two types of resin in exact proportion for a satisfactory result.”
Not just experimenting, Broota also has a proclivity towards layering, a technique he has quite well perfected over the years. Quite evidently it finds its presence is his new set of works as well.
The wall-mounted works have been composed with multiple layers of resin that both hide and reveal a script that cannot be deciphered and yet give feel of a complete newspaper. “Even though I work so much on computer, the memory of reading a newspaper still lives in me. In today’s digital world, such tactile feelings and emotions are important to be retained,” he says.
Apart from newspapers which are heavily featured in his work, he has also used shreds of old janmapatris (horoscopes), torn notes and weathered postcards for his sculptures. Each work has multiple layers of resin, and each layer has one of these components pressed in between adding mystery and depth to the entire work.
“It’s like looking deep down into the well of time. Where have we come from? Where are we going? What do we remember about our past and what do we want our future to be?” he questions.
Besides the sculptures, the photographs also stand out as it has been tweaked to create Broota’s signature language of abstraction. One work inside a hotel room captures his wife Vasundhara sleeping but the focus is on the light that enters the room. In yet another work, he takes a selfie but turns it upside down as if mocking himself, much like what the trend of selfies is actually about.
So, drop in to see the painstakingly layered works on glass-like objects created by the master artist himself.

The exhibition is on display at the Shridharani Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam till February 12.