Nek Chand standing by some of his women sculptures in the Rock Garden.
Last June 12th we said goodbye to an artist who turned waste into art beyond imagination. Nek Chand, a road inspector for the Indian government, spent his life collecting all sorts of industrial and domestic waste in his spare time. Every day after work and on his way back home he would stop at his secret spot in Chandigarh forest to build with waste a fantasy world made of human and animal sculptures, huts, waterfalls, bridges…
Sculptures made with bangles
Chand gave a second life, and practically a soul, to piles of discarded bottles, tiles, ceramic utensils, tires and electrical cables, amongst other things. When progress brought Chandigarh’s new city expansion plans to that lost place in the forest, 18 years later, Chand had covered around five hectares. What government officials found there were sculptures so full of life and such a fantastic universe that, defying the rules that would demand their destruction, they offered Chand a salary to keep on doing his work. Today, the Rock Garden of Chandigarh covers around sixteen hectares and is one of the most visited monuments in India, with five thousand daily visitors, second only to the Taj Mahal.
Horses and deer sculptures made of stones and ceramic tiles.
As lovers of art and the re-purposing of waste we want to celebrate the life and legacy of a man for whom there was no such thing as waste but new life opportunities. Just as nature would have it.
You can get to know more about the Rock Garden of Chandigarh and Nek Chand’s work at nekchand.com