b. 1924 in Pakistan
Moved to India in 1951 “to work on the construction of a vast new city designed by [the Swiss architect] Le Corbusier as a showpiece for modern India” (215)
Dozens of towns were demolished to build Le Corbusier’s project. Nek Chand found a way to recycle these wasted materials.
In 1965 he began to build his “kingdom” (initially envisioned in a dream) with cement sculptures and structures. He learned many of his cement techniques by watching Le Corbusier. “He worked in secrecy for fear of being discovered by the authorities [-] the land was not his own” (215). By the time he was discovered in 1972, he had filled 12 acres with 2,000 sculptures:
“Although many city officials were outraged, local businessmen offered free materials… [and] as his creation developed, so did the support and interest of the citizens of Chandigarh. By 1976 the city authorities were forced by public opinion to relieve Nek Chand of his duties as road inspector and give him a salary to continue” (216).
“Outsider” Artist: “Nowadays people are calling me ‘artist.’ I don’t like this word ‘artist,’ only God pushed me to do this work. I never knew people would see it, I just made it for my own pleasure” (216)
Bibliography: Maizels, John. Raw Creation: Outsider Art and Beyond. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1996.