Photography: Ishika Mohan Motwane
Along with favourite books and music, an assortment of odd and apparently non-functional objects have lived with me for years. They first made an appearance when my wife Gurpreet and I were living in a beautiful, crumbling old kothi in New Delhi’s Karol Bagh. Then they moved with us to another old house in Goa, and eventually travelled back northwards to become residents of our present Gurgaon apartment. Among them is a pair of tailor’s scissors made of teak wood. It is a beautiful object to hold. The sharp clefts and glittering edges of steel have been softened to warm brown wood, and sometimes I absentmindedly slip my fingers through its curved handles to cut random little pieces of paper. It’s very therapeutic. The scissors, along with a pink male torso neatly severed at the chest and thighs, and a pair of carved angels wings are the remnants of study pieces and discarded parts of Sudarshan’s first solo show Paper Moon, which opened at the Lalit Kala Akademi sometime in 1995.
At that time, Sudarshan was working out of another old kothi nearby that belonged to a mutual friend, Dayanita Singh’s family, and we spent many hours being inspired and excited by each other’s ideas. Gurpreet and I had newly set up People Tree, and I was also working on my first graphic novel River Of Stories. Rahul Ram and other members of the (also newly formed) band Indian Ocean were frequent visitors, and we had a small but wonderful community of artists, filmmakers, social activists and musicians who hung out in these old houses, surrounded by the bustle and clatter of second-hand car dealerships, auto workshops and small businesses run by Punjabi migrants. Snip—another little piece of the paper moon I’m shaping flutters down, catches a sudden breeze and floats out over the streets of Gurgaon. I fantasize its headed for Karol Bagh.
This article was initially published in our Art Icons issue of 2015 and we are revisiting it as a part of the Celebrating 15 Years of Platform magazine series.
Text Orijit Sen
Photography Ishika Mohan Motwane