Gulammohammed Sheikh's Balancing Act (2014) is a public sculptural installation inspired by an 18th century Jaipur School miniature painting depicting acrobats on a tightrope performing before a ruler and his court. The painting depicts the king and courtiers at what seems to be a moment of crisis; with a seemingly resigned king facing a dictating diwan on a balcony in the centre as noblemen on either side drag away two young princes. As Sheikh points out, the time of this painting’s creation coincided with British takeover of Rajput kingdoms including Jaipur. The acrobats depicted in the miniature in various tricky positions can thus be read as allegories for the precariousness of the kingdom’s political situation. In his sculptural translation of these acrobats, the artist has modified their facial features to resemble current political figures, thus conflating political intrigues of the present with a similarly turbulent period in the past. In doing so, he also points to art’s enduring entanglement with politics, as a site to critically reflect on the present.


  • Title: Balancing Act
  • Creator: Gulammohammed Sheikh
  • Physical Dimensions: Different sizes
  • Type: Sculptural installation
  • Medium: Fibre glass with acrylic paint and Melayne varnish, metal poles, ropes, wires etc. Team of associate artists: Sukhdev Rathod, Chandrashekhar Koteshwara, Umesh Sarvaiya and Harendrnath Mahato
  • Gallery: Vasco Da Gama Square, Fort Kochi
  • First Creator: 1937
  • Date of artwork's creation: 2014
  • Creator's practice: Vadodara, India.
  • Creator's date of birth: Surendranagar, India.

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