Ilyas Ahmed, the artist who creates art from discarded nuts, bolts, springs, vehicle spare parts and domestic waste is giving the final touches to the arrangement before his first ever solo show in Bangalore Chitrakala Parishat.
Ahmed’s foray into the art world started as a hobby when he was in his teens. Over the years he has nurtured his passion after discovering his hidden talent during his tenure at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), being a welder there when he had joined at the age of 19.
Later on he joined Merck & Company, an oil exploration firm. During his long journeys in ships he used to spend several hours pursuing his dream as a lot of junk material for his artwork was readily available as scraps and waste in the ship.
“While working at Merck & Company, a co-worker encouraged me a lot and also taught a lot about how pieces of nuts, bolts, springs, cans and other scraps could be given form to get the shape of sculptures"
The most striking part of the whole process is that the sculptures are created with equal sense of balance, symmetry, proportion, choise of waste material that resembles various parts of the anatomy.
There are no loose joints, and I found few of the parts move like the doors of the cars and some wheels of the 2 wheelers.
Artist is very comfortable with size; he has crafted sculptures as small as tabletop models with equal intricacy and graduated to give life to the large sized or gigantic sci-fi characters.
These are about one to one and half feet tall scultpures excluding the stand.
The weapons, the scultpures hold need to be lifted by at least 2 persons due to the heaviness of the metal casted.
One of the artists most elaborate creations is his native American sculpture, a chiseled face, metallic costume and a weapon in hand, with a beautifully welded headgear making it stand out from the rest of the display.
“Although I have to spend around 10-12 hours a day in my workshop, chiseling and refashioning junk for my various models, it gives me immense satisfaction as I am not only turning out beauty out of waste, but also saving the environment from getting polluted,” Ilyas said.
There were 2 metallic horses with a stationary bunch of chains for tails on either side of a dog-headed alien, which according to him, his most elaborate creation, more than 10 feet tall, looming like a warrior.
Ahmed says ~ “I find wealth in the waste also. All my work have been handcrafted and sculptured with intricate assembling. I collect all the objects thrown away from various houses, garages and factories in Bangalore and use them for my artworks”
He has admirers in the US, Britain, Japan, Italy and Singapore and has sold artworks to them, so far selling around 150 of his sculptures outside India among the foreign shores.
The wheels of these vehicles were found to be free-moving and mechanical in function.
I found the artist, Ilyas Ahmed very simple down to earth person. He is now molding 12 children to be future designers in this field.