Day #108: Nek Chand

I am grateful for the people who inspire me, many of whom I have never met, but they have given great gifts of art, music, exploration, and innovation to the world—and I’m grateful to the people who write about them. When I read The Secret Kingdom by Barb Rosenstock and Claire A. Nivola, my world and my heart opened to encompass Nek Chand, a man who was homesick after an enforced move (the Partition of India). In the woods near his home, he hid the statues of people and animals he made out of reclaimed objects and stones. Eventually, people discovered his artwork. The government tried to shut him down. His neighbors protested, for they had come to love his art. Today, the 25-acre Rock Garden in Chandigarh, India, holds more than 2,000 statues, waterfalls, amphitheaters, and works of art. People visit from all over the world. Sadly, Nek Chand died in 2015 and now the Rock Garden is struggling to stay open.

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