In Conversation with Tsering Gurmat, Sculptor

By Tsering Dolker Leh, Dec 13, 2019
Leh :

Q. Tell us about yourself.

I have been interested in painting from childhood and after my schooling, I went to Jammu and pursued Bachelor in Fine Arts from Jammu University and Master in Fine Arts from Banaras Hindu University.

I participated in many exposure camps and workshops. In collaboration with ice stupa Ladakh, I went for an exposure tour to Ice Hotel, Sweden in 2017.  In 2018, I have participated snow sculpture competition in Harbin China. I worked at Ratiksha Creative Solution, Varoda as a sculptor and as an assistant sculptor with many artists in Delhi.  In Leh, I work as a freelance sculptor.

Q. When did you first start creating art? What is your specialization?

While pursuing my bachelor's course in Fine arts, I found that there are different types of arts apart from paintings. Sculpting in particular interested me. I have worked under Ravinder Jamwal at Durb Satya studio in Jammu and Raghav Kaneria, one of the renowned artists. Raghav Kaneria appreciated my talent and suggested me to work on stone carving as stones are abundant in Ladakh. I have learned all types of sculptural works and my specialization is in stone carving and focus is to create art out of the rock which is the main medium on which I work. Besides that, I work on other different mediums such as wood, metal, fiberglass, etc. Also, I am working on ice sculpture as a new medium and good in clay modeling, metal fabrication, photography, calligraphy, wood carving, and installation.

Q. What is the inspiration source for your works?

My teacher Ravinder Jamwal used to tell me, “Work like a labour and think like a scientist” which inspires me all the time.  In this field as a sculptural artist we need to work as a labour and before that we need to create and compose it with pure ideas.  

Q. What is your most valuable piece of art?

As an artist, we put ideas and theme to a particular art, when it completes we move on to search for another theme for our next work, which means each piece of art has its value.  However, I made a stone carved stupa in Nurla and an ice-stupa which were highly appreciated by masses. 

Q. Could you brief about the sculpture of King Singge Namgyal that you have made? What were the challenges?

I am very grateful to His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa for considering me for this work, as he has sponsored for the sculpture. 

Through my imagination, I sketched King Singge Namgyal and when I was assigned for the sculptural work, I did a lot of research on how exactly our 17th-century king might look? I have collected information from various books, from local as well as international scholars, went to different monasteries but found a different portrait of the king. 

When I thought about the facial appearance of the king, he was the son of King Jamyang Namgyal and Queen Gyal Khatoon, I preferred few experts for suggestions and concluded with a mixed-blood feature. After all these, I decided not to visualize the king as a warrior but going for a royal procession will describe its uniqueness. It took six months for research and from August 2018 I started to work on this 14 feet sculpture.

Talking about the challenges, different perceptions and ideas from many experts and scholars made it a little hard for me to decide during the initial days, but when it got completed they appreciated my work. Secondly, the statue was made of bronze and the casting of metal was a whole new process. But I feel fortunate for getting this opportunity and faced all those hardships.

Q. What has been your biggest achievement so far?

I believe that all the pieces I have sculpted so far, including the stone stupas, ice-stupas, paintings, etc are all my achievements. All the works will forever remain as a positive gesture of hard-work throughout my life. I have some collections in Fertility (Stone) at Rinchen Zangpo Art Gallery and Friendship Tree at LAMO Centre.

Q. What are the scope and opportunities for artists in Ladakh?

With a good basic in any work and with one’s dedication, I feel there is a great scope in every field. Till now there are very few people in our region in this field, but I believe we have set an inspiration to the coming generation to indulge in such rare works. There are many possibilities in this field.

I was told by many people that you have chosen a wrong career, many have suggested to me for government jobs but I think if we have the basic knowledge in our interested field and start shaping that with hard work, we can achieve anything.

Message to the reader

“ I would like to appeal to all the parents to encourage and support the interest and talent of children. Let them choose such artwork from the basic if they like it.”