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Art Out of Junk Metal

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Artist Ilyas Ahmed welds the pieces of junk material into fascinating object of arts.
By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

Nothing really goes waste for Bangalore’s Ilyas Ahmed who would like to term his work of art ‘Scraptures’ i.e., sculptures out of metal scrap.
A welder by training, Ilyas has pursued with passion the art of fashioning objects of art out of discarded metal pieces. A ferocious lion here, a leaping horse there or an alien for the shelf, Ilyas’s sense of creativity finds a way to weld itself into artistic objects. He makes use of anything and everything that may be fit to be consigned to the junkyard of the workshops, foundries and factories. Discarded nut, bolts, screws, springs, crank shafts, pipes, chains, gears and all that could be heading for the scrap yard come handy for this expert welder who specialized in underwater as well as aviation welding.
Ilyas’s works are symmetric, created with a perfect sense of balance and proportion. The crude, rough and often clumsy bits of machines gel with each other to go into the anatomy of a horse, or a squirrel nibbling at its favourite nut held in its forelimbs. His dexterous hands could envision a mobike if just two identical gear wheels could be spotted in the junk heap.
Ilyas worked for a brief period in Bangalore based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (1987-89) and then moved on to join Maersk Oil, a Dutch company engaged in onshore and offshore oil explorations. With readily available junk material, he could dream turning the mostly ferrous metal scrap into a charging bull or an extraterrestrial being for the mantelpiece. He was comfortable with any size. One of the artist’s elaborate creations was statue of a Native American with chiseled face, metallic costume, a weapon in hand and a majestic headgear. It is now displayed at Golf Eden, a resort on the outskirts of Bangalore.
Ilyas says he uses cutting torches to weld the scrap into his object of art. His roving eyes and creative mind are quick to determine the position of a scrap bit into an art object. So a bunch of automobile chains could well be ideal for a horse tail or a pair of shock absorbers may fit into the scheme of hind limbs or a pair of upturned discs could serve as blinkers for the horses.
He even employs advanced techniques of welding such as Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding or Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding to shape his creations. He even underwent a course by American Welding Society in the US to gain expertise in underwater welding known as Submerged Arc Welding. He maintains a gallery at J. P. Nagar in Bangalore.
Ilyas has to its credit nearly 250 megasize sculptures and hundreds of art pieces for the shelves. He can be contacted at [email protected] or 9900019484 or access his website: www.ilyasahmed.in