A miniature world

Amrita Prasad
Tuesday, 29 August 2017

To give an authentic touch to his art, he has put frames, photographs at exactly the same spots where they are typically hung in villages even today. “Some of the pictures are of my family while some of them are of the people who owned the wadas where I spent my time as a kid,” quips Kumawat

City-based artist Swapnil Kumawat talks about his love for miniature art

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to art. Big or small, every piece of creativity is beautiful in its own way. For city-based writer-director-producer and commercial artist Swapnil Kumawat, miniature art is the way to connect with his childhood. For the 35-year old artist, the miniature world is like giving shape to his imagination. He  has been practising it during Ganapati for the last couple of years. Besides making miniature wadas and chawls, the artist, who is also in love with cars, has created a garage and a car workshop too.

“Since childhood I have been fascinated by miniature art. However, I didn’t explore it much earlier as an artist. When we shifted to my new house around six years ago, we created a dedicated space for Ganapati. It inspired me to start something new,” says Kumawat who created a chawl Ganapati last year. This year, the miniature art is in the form of an old wada through which he often takes a walk down memory lane.

“I’m in love with wadas — the feel of it is so amusing and soothing. Wadas are so close to my house. As a child, I have never had a wada of my own, but some of my relatives did, where I spent a lot of time. The corners, walls, sheds and small things like lights, the windows, the brass utensils and so on mesmerise me. Fortunately, I have spent a lot of time in a rich wada in its full glory,” says Kumawat. He has tried to visualise the old wada and recreate the same feel through his miniature art where he has installed a shaadu Ganapati. “Adding the feel and detailing was the key. While creating miniature art,  proportions are very important — the size of the rooms, the distance of one room from another, the area of the verandah, and space where the tulsi has been planted — all this has to be right,” says Kumawat. He has always created a very typical kitchen with mitti ka chulha and tried to do minute detailing there. The hall — an open space for guests — signifies how large-hearted the people living in wadas are.

To give an authentic touch to his art, he has put frames, photographs at exactly the same spots where they are typically hung in villages even today. “Some of the pictures are of my family while some of them are of the people who owned the wadas where I spent my time as a kid,” quips Kumawat.

Talking about the material used and the colour schemes, he says that the model was made from a PVC sheet which is sturdy and durable. “To add texture to the walls, I have used handmade paper. I have used colours like blue and yellow to give the look and feel of a house of a wealthy farmer. Yellow signifies the cow dung paint which is mainly used in villages to beautify houses. The toran hung on the door signifies his richness. There are small designs made on the walls which you will find in village wadas,” he explains adding that he specifically enjoyed making the windows, doors, and pillars.

The artist says that it liberates him spiritually when he makes miniature houses for Ganapati every year. “I do not plan, but I automatically begin making them 15 days ahead of the festival. I work 30 hours at a stretch and never bother about the pain or exhaustion. Once done, I feel I have achieved something,” he adds.

The artist has also made a model of a car garage and a workshop using all the cars in his collection, new as well as broken. Says he, “I am a car lover and have been collecting miniature cars of all models and versions. However, some of the cars have been broken by my son. I feel miniature art is not just about creating beautiful things but also about creating art from junk.” He has designed models of a bungalow, parking slots, showrooms, and a garage using metal nets, scotch brite as grass, sponge to make trees, soft drink cans to show water tanks.

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