~::Reviving a Tradition ::~
Monumental rock carving has been traditionally practiced in India and abroad. In India, rock carving was a most popular creative mode between the second century BC and the eighth century AD though its impact continued well beyond this time span. The richest expression of the art form in India is probably the rock cut temples and sculptures of Ellora, with the Buddhist series from the sixth to the eighth centuries AD and the Jain series from the eighth to thirteenth centuries AD. The monasteries, halls of prayer and the monks' living quarters in Ajanta, with chiselled sculptures, completed between the second century BC and 650 AD are further examples.
Another example is the great cave of Elephanta, supposed to have been carved between the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth century AD, as are the cave-mandapas of Mahabalipuram, with the sculptures within and in relief, dated to 625-74 AD. The decline of the tradition after the eighth century AD has never been explained, but the tradition of smaller sculptures in stone bear testimony to the tradition.
The traces of this mode are also vividly apparent in the international canvas. The Bamiyan (fourth-fifth centuries BC) in Afghanistan and the Petra (31 BC) monument near Amman are even older. Monuments like Mount Rushmore (1927-41 AD) and Crazy Horse (1948-98), both in South Dakota, U.S.A. are modern examples of the same art. Though the technique used in the present
project can be seen as a revival of our ancient rock carving tradition, the concept is original in its conscious deviation from the religious or political orientation of all earlier landmarks of the art of rock-carving. The Pakhipahar is conceived within a more secular and democratic ethos, in its celebration of common humanity and its aspirations, its yearning for unity, peace, solidarity, friendliness and harmony.