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Dhruva Mistry: The Artist Who Transformed Indian Sculpture

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Speaking to us from his Baroda studio, sculptor Dhruva Mistry opens up about life as a self-employed artist and why he loves working from home

I work from home. It is a space where I can be at complete ease and nurture my curiosity. I am most productive in familiar and intimate surroundings.

Life as a self-employed artist can be filled with joy. My partner and artist, Trupti Patel, gives me company at home and in the studio. Her green fingers keep our garden lush and blooming with variegated flora and fauna.

I make art using stainless steel, stone, fibreglass, clay and prints. I am always looking for new and creative ways of handling these classical materials. Every now and then, I work with my friends and fellow artists who are equipped with extended space and supplies.

For me, nature is the greatest source of inspiration. My work also draws from both ancient traditions and myths as well as contemporary Indian culture.

I live in an affordable and green neighbourhood in Baroda. It has been home to many artists including the late K.G. Subramanyan and Nagji Patel, both of who lived within walking distance from my house.

A peek into Dhruva Mistry’s home studio, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Akara Art

I studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda located in the heart of the city. Every once in a while, I pay a visit to the campus to connect with students, artists and teachers.

I like the creative energy that comes from being part of a lively artistic community. Space Studios, Mimesis Print Studio, Gallery Ark and the newly opened Alembic City Art District are a hot spots for young talent.

I moved into this area in 1997 when it was part of Sama village. Since then, it has developed into a modern town and merged into the main city. Flats and apartment complexes are replacing old, traditional houses, to accommodate more people, putting greater pressure on environmental resources.

I have an open schedule on most days. At any given time, there are plenty of unfinished pieces lying in the studio which need my attention. Once I finish work, I engage myself in household chores to unwind.

Public art projects excite me. I like to envision and execute works in monumental size and settings – they have a sublime quality that stimulates and overwhelms viewers across all ages and backgrounds.

Every sculpture is a breakthrough. It is a new discovery and a step towards pushing the boundaries of existing practices and concepts in art.

Dhruva Mistry was born in 1957 in Kanjari, Gujarat, and currently lives and works in Baroda. He is celebrated as one of India’s most iconic contemporary sculptors, with his works held in several public and private collections. He is represented by Akara Art and has exhibited at India Art Fair in previous editions.