The Mother Goddess Monolith of Dharamshala
Radiant as a pillar in stainless steel, sitting atop on the Himalayas dedicated to Victorious Kali or Jayanti , the consort of Mahakala or time himself, chiming the love poems of Kalidasa emanating energy by capturing her brother Surya’s light and shining like a star is Jayanti
Sculptor Raj Shahani makes a site specific installation that represents Shakti by capturing the rays of the sun in reflective steel. Multi-sided it is inspired by the kundalini and the yoni , primary sources of representation of Shakti or the primordial cosmic energy of feminine power. Shakti has many forms and avatars from Kali to Usha. Usha is the sister of of Surya and is present in the form of her rays. Shahani makes talismanic use of this light by capturing it in his sculpture.
The snow capped mountains of the Himalayas reflect back the light off the snow creating warmth and magical landscapes that picture divine enlightenment. Abode of the Dalai Lama and not far from Mansarovar , the perrenial abode of Shiva and Shakti, the sculpture comes from a tradition of symbolic aesthetic offerings to the divine, whilst conceptually existing as a form of art in contemporaneity.
Shahani gathers the landscape and its culture in a singular monolith , seldom do we see monoliths being constructed in this century, but Shahani uses dexterity in the use of metal to achieve this.
The artist plays with time across different scales like Kalidasa played with time in the Meghdootam where he flew from the plains of India onto the Himalayas carrying the message of love like the cool breeze that saunters from the Himalayas onto the plains soothing us from the scorching sun. Similarly Raj Shahani plays with the mountain light using reflection as a point of convergence and dissemination.
Raj Shahani is a sculptor based between New York and Bombay , he uses sculpture as means to memory sometimes where subjects are captured in photography but at times not, but sculpting is a form personal conversance with ones own interiority.
As a child, Raj was fascinated by the arts. It was a fact that did not go unnoticed by his school authorities, who instead of encouraging him, asked his parents to curb his passion so that he could concentrate on his studies.
“The fact was that I was dyslexic and had severe ADD. They didn’t realise it in those days and I can’t really blame them,” he says. But the result was that his art supplies were taken away and with no resources, he drifted away from the world of paints and brushes. Three decades of advertising and marketing later, a chance sculpture workshop in New York rekindled his artistic flame.