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Cycle scraps get a new lease of life

This artist gives cycle scraps a new lease of life. She uses discarded cycle parts to create impactful artworks.

Nehmat Mongia stands in front of 'Save Lungs'. It is made out of discarded spare parts of cycles and motorcycles.

They say a creative mind never misses an opportunity to create something powerful. Artist Nehmat Mongia brilliantly suffices this. As a child, she liked to stroll the streets on her cycle. While enjoying the scenic beauty, she collected discarded/unused parts of cycle that were being dumped on roads to create smaller artworks and portraits. She added ceramic, glass and metals to them.

She later studied designing but her love for working with cycle scraps remained with her. At an ongoing group show 'Two wheels', being showcased at the India Habitat Centre, this Delhi-born artist has used cycle spares to show her creativity. Some of the materials used include discarded cycle tyres, pedals, chains, metal parts, gears, etc.

One of her artworks (titled Entangled) is an installation made from punctured tyres. Inspired by her life as a young cyclist, the work reflects the dilemma cyclists face while riding.

She explains, “This work showcases how cyclists feel on roads. It’s the feeling of getting trapped between the cars. I remember getting jitters as a cyclist when I had to cross roads congested with heavy vehicles and big cars. I have captured the said entanglement in this installation.”

But why choose punctured tyres over other materials? The artist says that the choice of the material was intentional as she wanted to give the discarded punctured tyres (which cannot be fixed) a sustainable solution.

“I was keen to use a material that could minimise waste. I thought as it they cannot be fixed. Choosing them would be perfect as they would not produce any further waste in the creation of artworks,” she shares.

Nehmat has also stirred a conversation around the benefits of cycling. Through ‘Save Lungs’ (her other sculpture), she has metaphorically engaged people to understand the benefits of cycling and its impact on your health and environment.

A glimpse of life-sized collaborative video installation.

While explaining the sculpture, she says, “The story is very simple – you cycle, you save your lungs. As an artist, I have used scrap material to make lungs to enable people to understand the impact on cycling on their lungs.”

Keeping in line with her thoughts, Nehmat used discarded spare parts of cycles and motorcycles along with other waste scraps to make the sculpture. She also mixed these materials with cycle scraps (back bumpers, cycle chains, pedal, handles, nuts and bolts, among other things).

Similarly, she has also expressed the idea of a woman’s safety through a life-sized collaborative video installation. The installation depicts the fear of a woman at night, in a day and clutter. It has been captured through a projection.

Be it her creative thinking, the choice of materials or the medium, Nehmat plans everything in advance. She admits that she dedicates a lot of time in choosing the right kind of materials in her artworks. For her, creating an artwork is a long process.

“A lot goes behind its planning. I want the visual image to remain with audience. So I create several life-sized sketches to see which ones are the most impactful conceptually before creating the final product,” she asserts.

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