Friday, 6 May 2016

Santosh Kalbande installation at Piramal Art Residency

Art Residency always arouse curiosity among artists and art lovers. One such Art Residency workshop, Piramal Art Residency is going on at Thane, where artists from various genres have come together under one roof. Among the painters and installation artists are the five artists-in-residence- Santosh Kalbande, Nidhi Khurana, Rajyashri Goody, Bibhuti Nath and Sitaram Swain who will be displaying their on- the-spot creations, initiated on-site at the Piramal Vaikunth premises.

Artist : Santosh Kalbade 

Santosh Kalbande is well known for his artworks made from match- sticks and he has the knack of moulding the match-sticks in any form, according to his thought and imagination. Here he has applied his material and painting technique to present two valuable social causes.

When I asked him about the thoughts, he told me that he was unsure what he would do after coming here. For first two days he cleansed his mind and soul of any stale thought, by absorbing the nature’s energy in abundance on the premises. It’s only after two days when he received a forwarded story of a man who unknowing proved himself as the saviour of nature, philanthropist, did Santosh started working on the project made of match-sticks named ‘Routes of roots’

Routes Of Roots  Recent work by Santosh Kalbade at Piramal Art Residency 

The story is, that of an unknown person from Takluj village near Pune, who nurtures the hobby of collecting bags full of custard apple seeds that people cast off after relishing the fruit. He has been doing this since 30 to 35 years. He is in the profession which needs him to travel from his village to Pune and Mumbai on regular basis. So while travelling on the roadways, passing through valleys, he throws these seeds in the valley. Basically, custard apple tree is a deciduous tree and grows in moderate rainfall too, so the seeds germinate and get loaded with fruits. During growing season it sheds leaves, otherwise it is full of green leaves. The scattered seeds of custard apple started showing the fruitful result in few months after this act and now one can find valley on the way to Mumbai Pune full of custard apple trees. So, one contribution of this man is of planting trees and secondly, the most important is the humanitarian or philanthropic act of providing livelihood to the poor aboriginal people who do not have their own lands and farms or any kind of substantial employment.  These aboriginals collect custard apples from the trees, ripen them in organic manner and sell these natural flavoured, healthy fruits to the travellers; obviously at the lower price than quoted at big shopping zones and food marts. This has become a way of their seasonal earning. Even they are not aware of their saviour in disguise of an unknown person.

Santosh has captured the whole gist of the story in his installation. The boxes in the installation display roots; the roots without the planter’s name, yet growing, to do justice to the noble work. The match-sticks’ tips of greyish-black colour are pasted in such a way that it gives the look of innumerable custard apple seeds on the fertile land. In the same box we find triangle painted at the corners, these are the mountains through which the valleys run and where the seeds lie scattered, also a mountain view of already germinated and rooted custard apple seeds in the earth. The green’s light to dark shades also portray the lush green trees.

The artist has also captured the element of nature like birds that add to the scenic beauty and also the chopped trees with their rings clearly depicting the age of the trees. This is shown purposely to bring to the viewer’s notice that we are ignoring nature bluntly and axing the age-old trees for our mean purpose.
See- Saw Recent work by Santosh Kalbade at Piramal Art Residency 

The second artwork, is a ‘See-saw’ (teeter) is visual representation of fast springing up of cement and mortar forest and rapidly diminishing trees. We are cutting down trees in order to make space for our luxurious living; never bothering about the natural habitat of birds and animals. The reality is shown metaphorically using the concept of a teeter (generally known as see-saw), a plaything consisting of a board balanced on a fulcrum; the board is ridden up and down by children at either end. Here Santosh shows the wooden board (log) balanced in a pillar raised for building. A tree trunk is tied to the upper side of the teeter. If we want this earth to be a better place to live in, then it is a high time that we give more importance to conservation of environment and do utmost to save it.

Santosh’s work is a fine example of blending installation and line drawing and painting together for the brilliant presentation of concepts. And moreover, these two concepts were developed at the residency site itself; we can say instant creativity ignited by sharp understanding and the best positioning of match-sticks, by its expert Santosh.   

The whole process of completing these artworks lead to frustration because of innumerous question that haunted his mind about this man’s act of selfless contribution be adopted by the Society for human and nature’s welfare? Do we really need a propaganda for such things? Does the luxury means wiping away that is natural and beautiful to be replaced by artificial show-off. Philanthropy still exist despite of changed social circumstances and so on.

By Pankaja JK (Art


  1. Wow! Salute to Mr. Santosh for his social messages presented in a minimalist way :-)

  2. Beautiful and thought-provoking work, Santosh!

    Serena Kovalosky

  3. Keep it up this is world class work...

  4. Thank you So Much Serena Ma'am!

  5. Thank you Archana Mishra Ji, and Ashok Hinge !!!


Thanks for comment JK