Harminder grew up in Ghudani Kalan, a village in Punjab. “I was left partially paralyzed at the age of 11, but I didn’t let this dampen my spirits. It took me close to 2 years to regain my strength, but I did it! Still, I would often hear people taunting, ‘What will he do in his life?’”
His parents wanted him to study and get a stable job. “I was a back bencher, but I was always the first one to participate in any art competitions! I remember, getting 1st prize in a clay modelling competition. That was the first time my parents were proud of me!”
Soon, he started making sculptures using various materials. His father often told him, “Stop doing all these silly things and concentrate on studying. It will be better for your future.” Still, Harminder didn’t give up.
“After graduating, I wanted to join an Arts college but due to certain family problems I couldn’t. So, I took up a short sculpting course and set up a studio besides my farm.” Over time, he was selected for a national exhibition by the Indian Academy of Fine Arts and was also offered to teach in a school and college.
“I began gaining popularity on social media and did various art shows; international buyers started buying my artifacts. I even created a sculpture using milk cans!” He was highly praised for his talent in creating art from trash.
In 2015 when he visited the US, he encountered a completely different way of learning. “There was so much more exposure there and several opportunities in the art field. That propelled me to move to US; to give my art a larger stage.”
In the last 6 years, he has displayed his work in Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, Italy, and Brazil. From showcasing his work at the Van Singel Fine Arts Center and Holland Arts Council to being in the Top 100 ArtPrize 2016, he has done it all. He has also bagged the Lalit Kala Punjab Award, and the Award of Excellence from the Indian Academy of Fine Arts.
Mahindra salutes the challenger spirit of people like Harminder who challenge conventions to chase their dreams. #Rise.