\”Surrounded by domesticated animals most of my life, I have learned to observe and study them closely. My works are heavily influenced by their presence in the fields and grounds where I have grown up and lived. Growing up in remote areas of the Gir forest, I have always been seated in the lap of nature and in close proximity to animals and natural vegetation. It was only logical for these environments to get reflected in my works.\”
Rutvik Mehta was one of ten winners of the First Take award in 2021. When we asked him to share his journey and experience after winning the award, he gave us a very thoughtful reply, not only informing us of his recent activities, but also highlighting his matured introspection and understanding of his art practice:
\”Delightful to be in touch with the Abir India team.
The cattle and cattle bearers play a very vital role in my childhood memories. I remember observing a rural life with a child\’s eye. Today, when I connect those memories with the present life, I understand much more clearly that communication between animals and humans often takes place beyond words. I\’m also now sensitive to the underlying system which governs how a particular society operates. In the rural life I grew up in, the farmers lived a very basic life centred around the rearing of cattle. They did not suffer from the pressure of having to maintain sophistication for others. Therefore, their expression was raw. This is why I wish to represent things in a raw form today. If a farmer has been growing produce naturally for many years, his act is not considered fashionable; but when people from the cream of society decide to participate in organic farming, the practice somehow becomes more superior and in vogue. This made-up world that I have become a part of is quite contradicting to that of my childhood. I am trying to represent rural life more— their innocent and simple living, and the cohabitation of humans along with nature and other animals of nature. This harmless life which is vanishing with time is what I am trying to conserve through my work, by bringing these non-formative and raw textured layers into my practice. Till now most of my works were in metal, but of late I am also carrying out my practice in wood and epoxy, by transferring my sketches onto forms.
After I received the Abir award, I gained a lot of recognition and my works got selected for exhibitions as well. I have recently applied for a junior fellowship. I am also attending a workshop camp this month, organized by CCRT (Centre For Cultural Resources And Training).\”
Very recently, sheep have given way to monkeys in Rutvik\’s imagination. He says that during the COVID-induced lockdown, he saw that human beings had nothing to look at but the sky, and the monkeys in his recent works represent this human condition, where people have been stripped down to their primal needs and desires.
You can find a few of Rutvik\’s works on Abirspace.com.
Rutvik Bhupendrabhai Mehta was born on November 4, 1983, in Gujarat. In the year 2016, he earned his Bachelor of Visual Arts in sculpture from M.S University, Vadodara, Gujarat. He completed his post-graduation in Creative Sculpture from the same institute in 2018. During his graduation in 2015, he was awarded the Gujarat Kala Pratisthan at the 9th Art Exhibition held in Surat, Gujarat. In his student days, he participated in many exhibitions and group shows, including international art fairs. The artist currently works in Udaipur and continues to show in exhibitions.