Posted on : 09/01/2015 12:19pm
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New Delhi, Niharika Rajput transforms simple materials like wire, epoxy, and paper into incredibly detailed sculptures that are exhibited or commissioned by wildlife organizations and art galleries around the world. Over the past five years, the Indian wildlife artist has built around a hundred species. In her creations, a hummingbird hovering in the air laps up nectar from a coneflower. Newborn bulbul chicks beg their mother for food. A male kingfisher offers fish to a female kingfisher, perched on a mossy piece of driftwood.
Rajput crafts both miniature and life-size models of birds. The miniatures usually come in the form of bird figurines mounted on a block, or hanging mobiles with wings outstretched in flight. For these, she uses epoxy to shape the bird’s body, paper cut-outs for the wings and tail, and wire for the legs and feet, all of which she coats with acrylic paint. These can take a few days to make.
The life-size sculptures, on the other hand, take weeks and even months to execute. Rajput starts by making an outline of the bird’s body from wire, stuffing the hollow with newspaper, and covering it in strips of paper for an even surface. Then she works on the talons, eyes, and beak with epoxy. Finally, in her most elaborate step, she cuts thousands of body, wing and tail feathers from pastel paper and glues them individually—a technique that demands precision, and has taken the artist years to perfect.
On Instagram, Rajput has earned 11,000 followers under her brand name, Paper Chirrups. She often speaks at bird festivals and schools, where she teaches children about birds in peril through the medium of art. The artist spoke with Atlas Obscura about her artistic process and sources of inspiration.
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