Friendship from the eyes of a young sculptor
Two times National Award winner, Chittranjan Moharana’s work leaves you enchanted with its simplicity and depth.
As you walk through the studio dimly lit by streaks of sunlight, Hindi songs playing on the radio in the background, you’re captivated by a huge structure in a corner. The structure is a bronze and aluminium sculpture of a huge zip and a circular bond between them.
“A symbol of friendship,” says the sculptor, clad in an old t-shirt and faded jeans as he works on one of the ceramic sculptures to be later recast into aluminium and bronze.
You wonder at the simplicity of the structure that represents the strength of friendship with such ease.
Chittranjan Moharana, 26, a fine arts graduate student from Jamia Millia Islamia, has won two national awards for his sculptures.
One from Dhoomimal Art Gallery, New Delhi under the young artist category by the Ministry of Culture, and the other under the Best Creativity award from Ujjain. He has also participated in numerous exhibitions, group shows and competitions.
Chittranjan, from Puri, Orissa completed his undergraduate in fine arts at the Government College of Arts and Craft, Khallikote.
“The art of sculpture making had always fascinated me. I wanted to go for a more traditional sculpting course but in my graduation years, I got inclined towards fine arts more. I like working on abstract or modern art now,” says Chittranjan.
“I have been studying relationships for my work. Focusing primarily on friendship as it interests and intrigues me.”
His study focuses on the behavioural and psychological aspects of friendship. Chittranjan’s sculptures in their own way compare the different facets of friendship with nature and objects.
A figure, with mechanical cogs in place of the mind, denotes the mechanical workings of the human mind when friendship loses its purity.
Another figure titled ‘Voices’ depicts the influence of a friend’s words on a person. How it may motivate one to do better and how, if the same words uttered in sarcasm can even discourage one at times. The joy and the sadness of friendship, the truth and the false, the good and the bad are depicted through ordinary objects of daily use.
A door clamp, a zip, a screwdriver, a tire – all are carved into bronze, ceramic or fiber glass. They take you through the different dimensions of friendship in ways that leave you somewhat surprised.
Things you use and see everyday, things that pass unnoticed to you may hold a deeper meaning and can be used to explain the different facets of friendship. .
“I use the element of comparisons in narrating my viewpoint. I read people’s behavior, compare them with other people and create my sculptures likewise,” Chittranjan explains.
Chittranjan’s works rally around geometric shapes which he believes adds an aesthetic sense in a refined manner. “The concept of cubism by Pablo Picasso is something that has inspired me most. Almost all of my works follow the techniques of cubism, which is creating a 3-D form of continuity.”
“I consider Tutu Pattnaik, the renowned Indian sculptor, as my mentor, who is also from Orissa. My working style is inspired by his works. He too uses geometrical shapes in his work (cubism). I have even worked with him for one year before joining Jamia, and have appreciated his work for a long time.”
“I do not like to specify facial features, eyes and mouth for instance, in my work.” He believes that by not detailing the facial features he can give a more universal appeal to his ideas.
Chittranjan’s art does not come easy to him. “My work involves a personal investment of around rupees 40,000-50,000 per sculpture. I haven’t sold any of my art pieces yet. But sometimes I get commissioned works where a client pays around one lakh for one sculpture.” He has sold four of his sculptures on commission so far.
Why focus on relationships, especially friendship?
“Maybe it’s something instinctive,” he says. “I do have one very close friend, Samarjeet. We were together in college, and I share a very special bond with him, an unusual companionship. Maybe he has, in an unconscious way, been my inspiration,” he adds with an uncertain smile.