Ruchi Sheth- Glass Bangles, Feminine Beauty & the dream of merging art heritage with modern technology
“I’ve used 40,000 glass bangles to create the structure that I call Rawness Is Richness”
The Thought Process:
One look at Ruchi Sheth’s latest art installation, Rawness is Richness, and you would be sure you are looking at something mesmerizing and out-of-the-box. It is a V-shaped geometrical structure made of 40,000 glass bangles. And at a particular angle, it looks like the face of a rural woman.
On asking about her thought process behind this creation, Ruchi says, “I wanted to depict the feminine beauty and nothing can exude that as significantly as the rawness of a rural woman”.
A Different Road; A Limca Record
After completing her engineering in 2011, Ruchi realized that she was not a ‘morning to evening’ job person. So wishing all the best to her course mates, she started on a different road to artistic endeavors. Having always been fascinated by faces, she decided to take up painting and got into portraits. In the beginning, she started to work with charcoal and drew portraits of her family members.
In 2015, Ruchi applied for a spot in the Limca Book of World Records. She had created a portrait of her mother with the help of 25 old sarees. All the sarees belonged to her mother who, by that time, had passed on to the next world. Ruchi cut these sarees and converted them into 1800 little pom-poms. The portrait was made of all these pom-poms.
Her Work @ Kala Ghoda Art Fest ’16
In 2016, she got selected to present her art installation at Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda Art Fest. She created a walkthrough with recycled plastic and PVC pipes depicting APJ Abdul Kalam on one side and Gandhi on the other. She made it because the theme that year was ‘Without Borders’. To her, these two men were significant because they went about their work without ever caring about things like caste, creed or religion. Seeing her unique creative abilities around recycled plastic and PVC, many members from the audience, including some engineers, walked up to her to congratulate her and ask her how she managed to assemble such a structure.
Rawness is Richness @ Kala Ghoda Art Fest ‘18
The period from 2016-17 was especially hard for Ruchi. Post 2016’s Kala Ghoda, she had started putting a lot of pressure on herself to come up with new ideas. But later, she realized something very important. She says, “Creativity is not like a corporate strategy that one can just devise and strive for results. To enable a continuous flow of creativity, one needs to be mentally and physically relaxed”.
And so, after taking her own advise and dedicating her time to travel and research, she created her next art installation called ‘Rawness is Richness’. It got selected at the 2018 edition of the Kala Ghoda Art Fest. It was a V-shaped geometric structure made entirely of glass bangles. If observed carefully, it actually is a portrait of a rural woman.
In 2016, Ruchi was visiting Jawhar village in Maharashtra where she observed glass bangles adorning the rural women’s arms. She noticed how simple things made these simple people more beautiful. She was instantly enamored by this beauty, which was in direct contrast with the women of cities. It is then that Ruchi decided to make art out of glass bangles. After coming back to Mumbai, she went looking for glass bangles. But since no one really wears them in cities now, she could not find the bangles anywhere but in one place and the guy there was selling them at very high novelty rates. Her search for bangles took her to Firozabad, the glass bangles manufacturing center of India. 40,000 bangles were to be used in her art installation. And she procured them all from there.
After a lot of planning, she created a computer-generated 3D concept video of her art installation. Ruchi says, “I aimed to depict the feminine energy and nothing could do justice to it except for the rawness of a rural woman. I used 40,000 hand-made glass bangles for the same”. Since then, Ruchi’s creation has been to many art festivals including the Jaipur Art Summit.
Notes on Future
Ruchi Sheth’s future aim is to build flagship installations and murals with glass bangles. She would soon be going back to Firozabad for research. One of the themes that she wants to explore with her creations is ‘yin & yang’.
She wants to take the Indian art heritage and merge it with modern technology to create installations.