A 12-feet-tall metal sculpture of Maratha Mawla who is blowing a ‘Tutari’ (a musical instrument) gives a royal welcome to the passengers who arrive at the elevated Kandarpada metro station at Dahisar in Mumbai. The artwork is a replica of an ancient Maharashtrian culture of welcoming Maratha kings. Though at first glance it may appear to be just another piece of art on the street, what grabs one’s attention is the varying appearance of the installation from different angles, along with a disappearing effect.
But as commuters come closer they see flat metal sheets taking the shape of a man, just like a cut-out. As one walks past, the cut-out takes the shape of a solid sculpture. Once you are right in front or at the back of the artwork, the sculpture partially disappears as you look through the gap in the artwork. All those who witness this effect end up circling the sculpture in wonder!
This, as the artist duo S R Waikar explains, is the 4D metal sheet sculpture intended to give a different experience.
“It is made with multiple metal sheets of different sizes put together keeping a fixed gap between each two. Thanks to this gap, if you are looking at the sculpture from exactly at the back or front of it, the shape is most likely to disappear as you will be able to see across through the gaps in between. When looking at it from the sides, one will just see a metal sheet that is cut in the shape of a man. But in all other angles, one can see a solid sculpture as all metal sheets put together give it a complete look,” said Santosh Waikar, one of the two artist brothers who have created this sculpture.
Santosh and Sachin Waikar, both alumni of the prestigious Sir J J School of Art have been working at installing art works in the streets of Mumbai for some years. Known as the S R Waikar artists, the duo have always taken efforts to give a completely different experience to people through their art.
While the inspiration for Maratha Mawla sculpture was taken from a few international street artworks seen on the internet, a digital 3-D model was created on a computer before the work actually began.
“Though the gap between each two metal sheets is exactly one inch, the sizes of the sheets are different. This is to ensure that we get a complete shape of a man,” said Santosh. Considering the proximity of the locality with the mangroves, the sculpture has been given a special exterior clear coating to avoid rust.
Former local corporator Abhishek Ghosalkar who had commissioned this artwork through the civic body fund for beautification of the locality said, “It was almost a year ago and the metro station was upcoming. We decided to have a Maratha Mawla who is blowing a Tutari, symbolic to the ancient custom of greeting Maratha kings. We hoped for a grand welcoming gesture for those coming out of the metro station. And a 4D sculpture just made it more intriguing for viewers.”