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Arun Kumar HG

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1968, Karnataka, India
Lives and works in Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Arun Kumar HG’s sculptures and prints map the troubled relationship between nature and humans. His medium is derived from both organic and natural, and synthetic and artificial, while exuding a kitschy and pop sensibility with bright colours. His works comment on ecological imbalances, ethical questions of genetic engineering and agricultural monopolies.



Master of Fine Arts (Sculpture), Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India


Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture), Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India


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Themes and materials are mostly organic and natural

Arun Kumar’s choice of material for his artwork is informed by this rustic association with his father’s farm and the different organic materials that he has been acquainted with while growing up. Different types of leaves, seeds, plants, soils and other natural elements and their references find a heavy presence in his works. This provides him with the adequate challenge of dealing with natural, organic elements while tweaking to fit those into his artistic scriptures. These materials are not just the medium of an artistic production but also commentaries on environmental and legal issues of present ecological imbalances, genetic engineering, patenting seeds and agricultural monopolies.

Creating awareness about ecological disasters and directing and sensitising people towards these issues have been the driving forces behind his works. His site specific installation Seeds of Reckoning, 2012, at the Mumbai Art Room was a project in familiarising people living in urban centres about diverse seeds and leaves, elements that people in cities were not familiar with, and in the process unfold daily truths about cultivation and harvest.

Arun Kumar HG, Seeds of Reckoning, 2012, Site-specific installation, Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai.

Pop and kitsch sensibility is evoked through bright colours and materials

Arun Kumar’s sculptures are more often than not coloured in bright hues- shocking pink, lots of reds and greens, luminous yellows and blues, lending a kitschy and pop quality to them. This becomes an interesting configuration of colour, sculptural iconography and material, while the works posit serious questions about environmental issues. This also infuses the issues with a visual vitality while delineating a firm connection between the issue/idea and the form/colour.

Bright green and red latex foam toys are used to create sculptures of bulls, while they are positioned as if watching a television set for the installation The Bulls are Watching, 2003. Here the industrial readymade comes in a sculptural form with the figures of farm animals. The material and colour allude towards a pop sensibility which Arun Kumar effectively uses to create a fascination in the form of the object and the idea behind it.

Arun Kumar HG, The Bulls are Watching, 2003, latex foam toys, steel, video.

Clever narrative strategies are employed

The sculptures are always with clever narratives conveying the questions of conspicuous consumption by humans and their exploitation of animals, and man-made wastelands and their impact. The visual figurations of the sculptures succinctly display these stories.

The Processor, 2006, is a three-tiered installation, with the top berth occupied by a reposing cow, while the second and the third berths display milk churning machine and processor with an elongated, twisted pipe. This visual ploy shows the systematic industrialisation of animal produce for the benefit of humans, the mechanics displaying an unceasing cycle of animal produce transformed into marketable products.

Arun Kumar HG, The Processor, 2006,Astroturf, fibreglass, steel, aluminium.

Twinning or doubling is a recurring technique in making images

The technique of doubling or multiplying is usually used to drive home the idea behind the image or to create a sense of symmetry as a means to reinforce the idea. Both his photographic prints as well as sculptures hinge on this dual projection while engaged in one single act. The subjects could be mirrored from one single object or body as in photographs, again reminiscent of a hybridisation of the body. It could also be identical objects or bodies placed next to each other to create the effect.

Arun Kumar has again and again used pairs of bulls staring at television screens in his installations. His digital prints show cows and bulls scavenging from waste, the plurality realised through the mirroring of the image. He also photographs people from the margins in similar peripheral spaces like a parking lot or under a staircase, and digitally manipulates them to double to evoke a stronger sentiment.

Arun Kumar HG, The Lunch III, 2006,digital print on aluminium coated polyester film mounted on aluminium sheet, 31 x 29".

Arun Kumar HG, The other end, , 2006,digital print on aluminium coated polyester film mounted on aluminium sheet, 34 x 29".

Uses the absurd to comment on power relations between humans and animals

Arun Kumar’s works are a play between the absurd and the banal. He frequently portrays hybrid creatures, cross between humans and animals, placing them in situations that are completely out of place. He even engages in situational irony while placing his subjects in various contexts, to an effect of scathing humour. His bulls are often seen watching television like in The Bulls are Watching, 2003. This hybridisation and extraordinary context create an equal footing for both human and animal as able to engage in similar acts.

Arun Kumar’s Offspring, 2006, portray hybrid creatures - like piglet head or bear head on human bodies while seated in front of a television set, aligning themselves as humans. These figures attempt to dismantle the inherent power dynamics that exist between humans and animals as the former being superior, as both animal and human elements reside in the same figure without any confrontation, leading a perfectly banal life like full humans.

Arun Kumar HG, Offspring, 2006, fibreglass, wood, TV set (video 10 minutes), auto paint.