The basic characteristics and problems of contemporary Indian Sculpture are very similar to those of contemporary painting. If anything, it is even more alienated from the great Indian tradition, though and even more strongly hinged to the modern, eclectic, international concept.
It began in the academic style, based on mid-Victorian ideas of naturalism and smugness, and was a legacy of the British. This mannerism was perpetrated in the government art schools and colleges established around the century in Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and elsewhere. The inane achievement of this so called realist or naturalist school never even attained the height of real academic excellence and has remained a far cry from the iconographic, symbolical and religious ideals of Indian sculpture through the ages.
And then, when our sculpture was freed of this yoke, towards the ‘forties’ it looked again as in painting, to the western world for inspiration, resulting in similar processes of experimentation and eclectic exercise. From then on the story of contemporary Indian sculpture is the story of a transition from academism to well-defined non-objectivism. We have been introduced to new and unconventional materials, most certainly in the manner of employing them, such as, sheet metal, welded bric-a-brac wire, plastic, hardware and junk. Here and there, our sculptors may have achieved worthwhile results in tune with the milieu, but this achievement is not comparable with the results attained in the field in the shape of a renewed interest in folk and tribal art. But, largely, the preoccupation is still with shape and form, polish and texture and mid-way abstraction. Contemporary Indian sculpture has not shown either the speed or variety of painting and has not arrived at the logical ‘cul de sac’ which in the case of painting has provided the necessary height and perspective to a meaningful introspection, which is called the ‘Journey’s End’ is a symbolical painting that reaches beyond the explicit pictorial elements of the work. The crouching, gasping camel set against an arid desert in the twilight hours has a relevance to life in general.