Chand, Nek

Background: grew up in a poor, semi-literate farming family
Education: high school matriculation certificate
Profession/occupation: roads inspector
Art form/medium: sculpture, textile, park design.
Start artwork: 1958 start of the garden. The work is still going on.
Relevant info: in his childhood his mother told him a Punjabi folktale about a king and his kingdom. It ignited his dream to create his own kingdom.
Exhibitions and collections: Collection De Stadshof / Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent, permanently installed; Museum of Everything, London; Museum of International Folk Art Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2003-2004.
References: Von Schaewen, Deidi & Maizels, John; Fantasy Worlds, Köln, 1999.
Maizels, John; Nek Chand. Creator of a Magical World, in: Carlano, Annie (ed.); Vernacular Visionaries. International Outsider Art, exhibition catalogue of the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, 2003-2004, pp. 64-77.
Outsider Art Sourcebook, 2009, p. 58.

Nek Chand Saini a humble roads inspector in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, began in 1958 to clear a patch of jungle to make himself a small garden. He built a little hut, placed stones around the clearing, and sculpted a few figures from materials that lay to hand. His duties at the Public Works Department included supervising the city dump, which became a major source of material for him. 26 villages were demolished to make way for the mammoth capital city, and much of their rubble was deposited there. Gradually his garden expanded to the Rock Garden of Chandigarh, now comprising more than 25 acres of sculptures, buildings, arcades, gorges and waterfalls. In 1976 the visionary environment was officially inaugurated, acknowledged as one of the wonders of the modern world.

Collection De Stadshof received a hundred of his cement sculptures, and three cloth dolls, as a gift, in 1993.

Nek Chand Saini
1924 Barian Kalan, Punjab, India - 2015 Chandigarh, India