Harwinder Singh Gill – The Good Eggs by G.S. Paul
His creations may be small in size but the statement and message they carry can in no way be termed as ‘minute’. It was his own way of attracting the masses, especially youth, towards the rich Punjabi heritage, which is losing its glory in the influence of Western culture. At a recent exhibition of 200 of his miniature creations, he displayed a portrait of US president Barack Obama and the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, carved on a duck egg shell.
Meet Harwinder Singh Gill, a dental hygienist by profession. With the curiosity to know how his urge to do something different turned into miniature sculptures of wood, a Tribune team spent over an hour at his house on the Fatehgarh Churian road, Amritsar.
“It all started as a hobby. Hailing from Madhopur village, I still cherish the old memories of my village in my mind. One day I decided to transform my memories into a unique way, carrying some message.
“I decided to direct the attention of Sikh masses towards Punjabiat and rich heritage through my skill. It was only then that I started taking it seriously and started getting it more polished,” said Gill.
From one inch to two inches in size, he has sculpted the minute details of the sickle, spade, weeding knife (khurpa), plough, cart, saw, cot, etc.
“These are all items prevalent in Punjab villages, the origin of Punjabi virasat,” said Gill. Gill has also made miniature dentures, the size of little more than an inch.
Actually, in global terms this skill, known as Netsuke art, has originated from Japan. The basic purpose of this is to communicate social values as a part of a custom. This art was being incorporated to preserve historical records.
Though not aware of this unique art form in this sense, the purpose of Gill’s efforts is undoubtedly the same.
Detailing his skill, Gill said though a very rare sort of wood is required for making microscopic sculptures, he had made these items out of waste. “I had an old discarded tray made of walnut wood. I chopped it into pieces to transform them into these items with the help of micro tools, dental grinders, files, etc,” said Gill, who now wants to get his creations registered with the Limca Book of Records.
Challenges are always acceptable to Gill. “If someone claims that he can make smaller items than me, I can try to make them even smaller,” Gill quipped.
Tribune News Service