I find that there is something touching about people who turn to art late in their life. On a weekend’s trip to the Western Ghats, just outside Mumbai, we were in an open dining space crowded with wooden sculptures. I made a joke about the wooden poses that the sculpted figures were in. The Family found them quite interesting. So I looked at the horse and the seated warrior carefully. True enough, the proportions were wrong, and bodies had too few joints. But it was interesting where the artist had put his attention. The face has minimally delineated, but the turban was carefully shaped. The head of the horse had received less attention than its shoulders. In fact, the body of the horse looked unreal, but had clearly been shaped with attention.
I met the artist later (photo on the right). Communication was difficult because we spoke each others’ languages badly. He had been a carpenter all his life, but had recently started making these pieces. The shapes are dictated by the pieces of wood that he finds. He described what kinds of odd pieces of wood had gone into the sculpture of the horse and armed rider. He doesn’t always recover the money that he puts into buying the wood, but he economizes because some of the wood is not usable in other ways. I could not ask him about his motivations, and why he felt he needed to express himself in this new way. These are questions which plague a blogger, and it would have been nice to get answers from someone similar.