Sunday, November 11, 2012

To promote a budding art form, called sand art

To promote a budding art form, called sand art The Birla Academy of Art and Culture offered art lovers in Kolkata, the rare opportunity of seeing the work of Odisha’s famous sand sculptor, Sudarsan Pattnaik. The exhibition which opened on November 3, offered an insight into the technique and the expertise that Pattnaik has mastered in his creations.

Born in Puri on 15 April 1977, Pattnaik is often referred to as ‘the inventor of sand art in India’. Totally self-taught, the artist has been sculpting images on sand from the age of seven, without any guidance. The unique images that he sculpts on sand are thus, the result of practice and a creative mind.

For Sudarsan Patnaik, “the ultimate objective is to create awareness and enthusiasm among the people and make it a popular professional art form.” To further this aim, he has been travelling to various places in the country and demonstrating this art form by holding workshops and training those interested in this style of art. Having designed hundreds of sand sculptures, he has also inspired many and has a number of students, eager to learn the technique of creating sand art at his Golden Sand Art Institute which is the first of its kind in India.

Pattnaik has won many national and international awards for his creative work. Sudarshan Pattnaik also won the People’s Choice Prize at the 1st Moscow International Sand Sculpture Championship. By creating a 15 feet tall image of Ganesha, Pattnaik sought to create awareness on the potential dangers of global warming at the International Sand Championship. The top of the sculpture depicted the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas and in the flowing water Lord Ganesh is shown travelling on a boat with a sign “Divine Concern on Global Warming”. This was to educate people through his art about the effects global warming.

Pattnaik has so far participated in more than 50 international sand sculpture championships across the world and has been winning awards since 1998, bringing prestige for India through this new and unique art form. Among the latest awards won by him are the 1st Prize at the USF Championships 2008 in Berlin; he won the Korea Sand Sculpture Award at the 4th Busan in 2009; he received the Odisha Living Legend Award in 2011 and in June 2012, he won the first prize in the International Sand Sculpture Championship. In particular, his creation in sand of the Black Taj Mahal has won accolades from all over the world.

As expected, Pattnaik’s exhibition has been drawing large crowds of people. Some of the visitors may have seen the work of this creative genius on the beaches of Odisha. Open till November 18, anyone who is in Kolkata in that period and has the opportunity should try to see this unique exhibition to applaud the effort required to create art on the shifting sands of a beach.

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