It’s a well-known fact that the fashion industry produces heaps of waste every year, most of which is discarded without paying any consideration to the remaining value of the materials that are further adding to the landfills. We are currently paying the price for such ignorance as the industry stands to be the second largest polluter of local freshwater in the world. Understanding the impact of our callous actions, Chandigarh-based artist Gurjeet Singh is changing the conversation with his work.
A Japanese word adapted by many environmentalists around the world, ‘Mottainai’ (moat-tie-nigh) conveys a sense of regret when something is put to waste without deriving its value. The exclamation ‘Mottainai!’ which can translate to ‘what a waste’ has become quite the buzzword in recent years; further becoming a source of inspiration and wisdom for Gurjeet as well as providing a basis for his creations.
Best known for his eccentric and eye-catching work, the artist incorporates discarded materials to curate soft sculptures; reusing small pieces of fabric, beads, threads, buttons, cotton, needles, toys, plastic and a variety of tiny parts commonly rejected in boutiques. His emphasis is on the experience of interacting with art and Gurjeet believes his audience should not remain limited to being mere spectators but instead get a chance to touch and hug his sculptures.
Inspired by the women in his family, he credits a lot of his life’s learning to them. His mother who he refers to as the ‘queen of knits’ in addition to his three sisters helped him learn the art of stitching. While also encouraging him to live a vibrant life where he dresses according to his own whims. His father, a car-hardware shop owner, also played a huge role in his sculpting journey. As a collector of Sikh miniatures, he instilled in him an appreciation for art, further encouraging his creativity.
Shedding light on the darkest traumas and euphoric highs of the LGBTQIA+ community, his work is an ode to the queer stories around him; providing a platform to feelings that are not just his but the concealed experiences of many others like him.
View his page here.
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