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Birds, planes and other rooftop sculptures of India explored in book, talk in Surrey

‘Rajesh Vora has visited close to 150 Punjabi villages since 2014 to document these amazing sculptures’
A Rajesh Vora photograph featured in his “Everyday Monuments” series. (Photo courtesy of artist and PHOTOINK, New Delhi)

Whimsical rooftop sculptures found in India are the subject of a new book and special event in Surrey on the first Saturday of November.

The 2 p.m. gathering at Surrey Art Gallery will celebrate the release of Rajesh Vora’s “Everyday Monuments: The Rooftop Sculptures of the Punjab,” subject of a photo exhibit there in the spring of 2022.

Based in Mumbai, Vora has photographed sculptures shaped like airplanes, birds, soccer balls, cars, army tanks, weightlifters, horses and other objects, made from rebar, wire mesh, cement and paint. Many of the sculptures serve as functional water tanks, and often tell stories of identity, diaspora, family and culture.

Admission is free for the Nov. 4 event at SAG, where a panel discussion will involve Keerat Kaur, Keith Wallace, Jai Birdi and Satwinder Bains.

“Rajesh Vora has visited close to 150 Punjabi villages since 2014 to document these amazing sculptures,” noted Wallace, exhibition curator and contributor to the catalogue.

“With Surrey being the hub of B.C.’s Punjabi population, Surrey Art Gallery is the natural location to exhibit his photographs.”

The gallery event is co-presented with the South Asian Studies Institute at University of the Fraser Valley. The gallery is located at 13750 88 Ave., at Bear Creek Park.

This fall, exhibits at Surrey Art Gallery include “Kampala to Canada,” about the travels and experiences of several Ugandan Asian Canadians at a time when thousands of such refugees arrived in Canada penniless and uncertain of their future.

Also showcased is “Swapnaa Tamhane: No Surface is Neutral,” an exploration of the colonial and material histories of textile-making in India. Tamhane’s works include large-scale textile installations referencing the importance of cotton in India’s colonial and post-colonial history.

Visit SAG online at or call 604-501-5566.

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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