Rock Garden creator Nek Chand took his last breath
Nek Chand, creator of the iconic Rock Garden who has amazed people for decades with his unique sculptures made from waste, died following cardiac arrest
at at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) He was 90 years old and was suffering from diabetes, hypertension and cancer. He was hospitalised for the past few days. The Padma Shri awardee, whose 90th birthday was celebrated by the Chandigarh Administration and the City residents on December 15, had millions of fans across the globe.
"Nek Chand" the Man behind the Rock Garden
He hailed from Shakargarh region (now in Pakistan) of district Gurdaspur. His family moved to Chandigarh in 1947 during the Partition. At the time, the city was being redesigned as a modern utopia by the Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. It was to be the first planned city in India, and Chand found work there as a roads inspector for the Public Works Department in 1951.Mr Chand had no formal education and worked as a road inspector in the city.
In his spare time, Chand began collecting materials from demolition sites around the city.Waste like broken crockery, electrical fittings, glass bangles, bathroom tiles, wash basins and bicycle frames were used to make mosaic sculptures of men, women, animals and gods. He recycled these materials into his own vision of the divine kingdom of Sukrani, choosing a gorge in a forest near Sukhna Lake for his work. The gorge had been designated as a land conservancy, a forest buffer established in 1902 that nothing could be built on. Chand's work was illegal, but he was able to hide it for eighteen years before it was discovered by the authorities in 1975. By this time, it had grown into a 13-acre (5.3 ha) complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals. Made from recycled materials, Chand builds up the mass with a cement and sand mix before adding a final coating of smoothly burnished pure cement combined with waste materials such as broken glass, bangles, crockery, mosaic and iron-foundry slag
His work was in serious danger of being demolished, but he was able to get public opinion on his side, and in 1986 the park was inaugurated as a public space. Nek Chand was given a salary, a title ("Sub-Divisional Engineer, Rock Garden"),and a workforce of 50 labourers so that he could concentrate full-time on his work. It even appeared on an Indian stamp in 1983. The Rock Garden is still made out of recycled materials; and with the government's help, Chand was able to set up collection centres around the city for waste, especially rags and broken ceramics.
The Rock Garden, located in Chandigarh's Sector 1 on a sprawling 35-acre campus can be best described as a 'kingdom' created by Nek Chand which depicts the life and ecology of India, including rural settings and palaces. It also has waterfalls, an open air theatre, and pools. The garden is visited by over five thousand people daily, with a total of more than twelve million visitors since its inception.
Chandigarh rock garden is an epitome of creativity and innovation. It is a unique garden that consists of various art objects. But the best part about the rock garden is that each of its artwork has been made by using industrial & urban waste. It is located in Sector 1 between the Capitol Complex and Sukhna Lake.
The credit for laying its foundation goes to Nek Chand, who was the then Road Inspector in the Engineering Department of Chandigarh Capital Project.
Rock garden has been established in the form of an open-air exhibition hall. The garden houses sculptures made by using a variety of different discarded waste materials like frames, mudguards, forks, handle bars, metal wires, play marbles, porcelain, auto parts, broken bangles etc. Rock garden in Chandigarh, India is a unique creation and connoisseurs come from different parts of the world to see this amazing garden
Nek Chand’s unique art has also been showcased in museums abroad, including at the National Children’s Museum in Washington.40 of Nek Chand’s figurative mosaic sculptures will reportedly be on exhibition at historic Chichester in West Sussex in Britain