SRI NEK CHAND SAINI
Nek Chand Saini was born in 1924 in a small Indian village in what is now Pakistan. Following the Partition in 1947, he fled to Chandigarh, the new state capital being designed by the modernist architect, Le Corbusier.
While working as a roads engineer, Nek Chand began to accumulate stones and waste materials in the forest. It was the manifestation of a childhood dream: a complex series of interwoven gardens, where figurative sculptures and architectural follies were assembled from the discarded materials Nek Chand and his team scavenged from the cityís rubbish tips.
When it was discovered in 1972, Nek Chandís recycled kingdom was declared illegal and threatened with demolition. Only public support and the unwa- vering vision of its creator ensured its survival. Nek Chand was rewarded with a salary and a full-time staff to help him continue his endeavours.
Today the Rock Garden covers over 30 acres and is one of the most visited cultural sites in India. At the age of almost 90, the artist is still busy at work, designing new phases of his ever-expanding ceramic nation which now welcomes thousands of visitors every day.
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