An Unreasoned Act of Being: Sculptures by Himmat Shah
An Unreasoned Act of Being looks at the career of the draughtsman and sculptor Himmat Shah. Born in Lothal in 1933 to a Jain mercantile family, Shah was a rebellious child who refused to attend traditional school. He found his vocation at art school and trained under a teacher of Ghandian persuasion. As a founder member of ‘Group 1890’, Shah championed contemporary Indian art as distinct from the influential Paris and New York schools. Nonetheless he spent two years in Paris, imbibing Western modernism and being exposed to the work of Klee, Brancusi, Picasso and Giacometti. Shah’s sculptural style is instantly recognizable in the totemic and iconic heads that are rather phallic in shape. They are contemplative and embody masculinity rather than portraiture. By applying techniques used in printmaking Shah marks the surfaces with grooves and etching, creating a rich contrast between the smooth and the rough bronze surfaces. Gayatri Sinha has succeeded in bringing to life a significant sculptor of twentieth-century Indian art. She demonstrates how important his work is in participating in and influencing the canon of modern Indian art.