How Padm India Is Nurturing & Incubating Homegrown Sculptural Art

L: Milan Singh, R: Mansie Shah
L: Milan Singh, R: Mansie ShahPadm India

When we think of sculptures, we might think of Greek gods etched in marble that grace renowned museums and of stone deities carved with reverence into ancient structures of worship and/or power. But sculpture as an art form is one of immense potential.

This branch of visual art that functions in three dimensions was historically made using techniques like carving and modelling. While the materials used were limited to those of natural origin like stone, metal, ceramics, or wood. But with the advent of modernism, practitioners of the art form have moved towards novel materials and modern techniques that range from welding, and moulding to 3D printing. 

Padm India is a unique art platform that moves away from conventional gallery norms to solely represent, exhibit and celebrate contemporary sculptural art. It is founded by Sakshi Ruia, a London Business School graduate, with “extensive experience working at her father’s four-decade-old fine art foundry," according their website. By working with artists who are exploring and pushing the boundaries of sculptural art, Padm explores three-dimensional aspects of sculpting and their capabilities to tell stories that can connect to visitors. 

The platform works as a collective that brings together artists, their works and patrons of the form to create curated experiences. Walking the fine line between art and design, Padm showcases artworks that span the gamut of disciplines, methods, and materiality in an endeavour to provide space for established and emerging artists alike to push the boundaries of the medium and to capture the essence of the practice. The platform seeks to achieve this by bridging online and offline spaces. In addition, they also plan to exhibit emerging artists all year round, while expanding into exhibitions, studio residencies, infrastructures, and more. 

Padm’s inaugural exhibition titled ‘Interwoven Histories: Art Traditions of the Silk Route’ was curated by ceramic artist Falguni Bhatt and hosted at Aasmaan in Bikaner House, New Delhi. Exploring contemporary sculpture, the 14 artists who presented their work at the exhibition explored the Silk Route in their experimental artworks, analysing its historical and cultural significance. The exhibition sought to capture the impact of the ancient trade route in inspiring and influencing the connected world we have today.

Even the very choice of using ceramic and stone as the primary mediums featured in their debut exhibition was a conscious choice. According to the team, “soft and malleable at first, then hard and immovable - clay is many mediums hidden in one. With nuanced handling, artists can shape, mould, and polish this fluid material into compelling narratives. Timeless and sturdy, stone offers a tactile and technical experience. With careful carving and chiselling, artists reveal the inherent beauty within the stone, bringing their vision to life. The exhibition is a way to immerse yourself in the conversation of materiality and sculpture as our showcasing artists transform raw earth into intricate forms - reflecting the visual narratives and historical stories of the Silk Route.”

The most important aspect of Padm India is their commitment to making their art accessible to everyone. The exhibitions require no tickets nor reservation - one can simply show up and become a part of the narrative that they are trying to communicate through each meticulously crafted sculpture that is hand-picked for the exhibit.

Going forward, Padm is poised to host more events that encourage accessibility, nurture the artists who are leading the way and create and foster a community that connects to the medium and values the narratives relayed by them. 

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