from footpath to FIFA: story of an artist

best artist in the world wajid khan

 

 

 

gandhinail

 

 

 

 

 

wajid artist bullet art

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footpath to FIFA: nail, auto part and stone art More than fifteen years ago, a part time sports teacher in a school wrote to me from Indore wanted support for his innovation. He had been a maverick tinkerer. Despite having a well off background, he dropped out of school after class 5. He went to the National level in rugby but then because of an accident had to discontinue that career. He learnt making robots, electronic circuits and manage with this hobby for a while. With a deep restlessness inside, he was constantly changing his vocation to find the illusive resonance. He had made one of the world’s smallest functional iron for pressing clothes. When he called up to meet, I asked Wajid Khan to just come straight to Ahmedabad. He stayed here for four months and helped some of the innovators in electronics assembly. Though I do not remember, he claims that I gave him some money to make a few more things that he wanted. Having been attached to school, NIF was not in a position to help. He went back and then called me a month ago. During this period we had no contact. He had borrowed 1300 from his mother decade ago to buy old clothes and sell them to needy ones. Despite affluence on his father and mother’s side, he had chosen to experience life as it was. By now he had become a very accomplished artist who would never repeat a medium of expression once used. I have not met any artist who does that. He made a painting of Gandhiji affixing nails on the board. Another painting with automotive waste parts. Still another with empty shells of bullets and then with stones. Every time he sought a new challenge and a new way of addressing it. Nothing seemed to satisfy him. While talking to the CINE students at IIM-A about his creative journey, he explained his quest with the help of few stories. When asked how did he get absorbed in his art such that he never repeated a medium of art. There was a king in Japan who had a beautiful palace. His son went to a saintly person in Egypt to convey the agony of his family. His father despite having all the wealth was not at peace. He wanted a way out htis this situation. The saint gave him a spoon full of oil to go and see his palace. He went to see it but his mind was all the time fixed on ensuring that oil did not spill. When he came back, saint asked him what did he see and he could not tell much. He then took spoon back and asked him to go and see the palace again. This time he could describe all the details of beautiful carpets, architecture and so on. Saint told him to and go and tell his father this story. Wajid was clear, if we are not there at the moment and tied up with things, then thoughts will not space to expand and deepen. His art exemplified the existence in the moment and just that moment. Nothing else mattered, nothing else was felt. After getting several orders for the portraits with new materials, he recently got a multi million dollar contract for making a sculpture for FIFA 2022 in Qatar. He and his wife Mariam Siddiqui both decided not to have their own child lest their focus gets distracted from helping other orphan and street children who deserve their help. He teaches art, and helps to uncover his talent, just as Honey Bee Network had discovered his talent more than a decade and half ago. The river must flow, when asked where from he gets his energy. He asked students go and sit on a river bank and ask the river, where does she get her energy from? Those who wish to meet him and listen to his story are welcome to iima campus on 24th evening when he will visit again to tell his story of voluntary suffering to achieve a place only of its kind, only his own.

anilg

Visiting Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad & IIT Bombay and an independent thinker, activist for the cause of creative communities and individuals at grassroots, tech institutions and any other walk of life committed to make this world a more creative, compassionate and collaborative place

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