Topical Themes And Global Attention Have Helped Odisha Make Sand Art Uniquely Its Own

As you land in Odisha’s capital metropolis of Bhubaneswar, you might be greeted by a sublime piece of sand sculpture on the airport’s arrival corridor. This set up, put up by Odisha Tourism, signifies the recognition of this artwork kind within the State.

Sudarsan Pattnaik is, after all, probably the most seen identify from the world of sand artwork, whose works have turn into an enormous attraction for vacationers visiting Odisha’s well-known Golden Triangle — Puri-Konark-Bhubaneswar. This, the truth is, inspired the State authorities to launch an annual worldwide Sand Art Festival seven years in the past. Like Odissi, sand artwork has now turn into a novel a part of Odisha’s id.

Puri, the land of Jagannath, is named the cradle of the 700-year-old artwork kind. It is alleged that legendary Odia poet Balaram Das, who lived in Puri within the 14th century and authored Dandi Ramayan, was an ardent devotee of Jagannath. However, he was not allowed to climb up the chariot of Jagannath to supply prayers in the course of the Rath Yatra as a result of he belonged to a decrease caste.

Dejected, Balaram went to the seashore close by and carved the photographs of Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra on the sand. Moved by his devotion, the three deities, it’s mentioned, vanished from the chariots and appeared earlier than the poet.

A temple devoted to Balaram Das has been erected on the spot the place this incident is meant to have taken place. The incident additionally finds point out within the poet’s work Bhav Samudra.

Though sand artwork goes again so a few years, it was Sudarsan Pattnaik who turned its trendy ambassador. He adopted a recent strategy by transferring past divine themes to incorporate present points and occasions within the discipline of politics, surroundings, sports activities and humanities. He has represented India in about 60 worldwide sand sculpture championships and several other artwork festivals, profitable 27 championships and several other awards. He set a Guinness World Record for creating the world’s tallest sand fortress.

Sudarsan’s former colleague, Manas Kumar Sahoo, is a pioneering sand animation artist. While sand artwork has all the time been a solo act, Manas led India’s first-ever sand animation artwork group from his house city of Puri to the finals of the truth present, ‘India’s Got Talent’, in 2010.

Combining expertise and conventional strategies, Manas has diversified into doing company assignments whereas working a sand artwork park at Puri. Many firms use the artwork kind to advertise their merchandise.

Puri-based Suchitra Mahasweta, who was earlier a part of Manas’ group and now works independently, has been invited by the Odisha authorities and UNICEF to design social consciousness campaigns via sand artwork animation.

Transient Art

The rising variety of sand artwork institutes throughout Odisha signifies how the artwork has slowly turn into mainstream and the way younger college students are discovering newer methods and avenues to showcase it. When you stroll alongside Puri seashore, you discover many such artists creating large sculptures inside fenced enclosures. You additionally discover a few of them instructing kids freed from price.

But doesn’t the impermanence of sand artwork hassle its practitioners? “Actually, it derives its beauty from this quality. You may not be able to hang it on the wall or display it at home, but you can store it in your memory. The medium’s versatility excites us. Create, destroy, create… the process keeps creativity flowing. Sand has given many artists like me an identity in life,” says Sudarsan.

Religious and tourism components aside, Puri’s golden-coloured sand and average climate have made its shore the right canvas. “While Goa has white and Chennai blackish sand, the finer quality of sand in Puri helps in creating complex designs and ensures a longer lifespan for the sculptures,” says Manas. And, though trendy instruments are utilized by artists worldwide, Puri’s sculptors are nonetheless opting to work with their fingers.

Manmohan Mohapatra, who just lately succumbed to Covid on the age of 59, was working wonders with sand a lot earlier than Sudarsan. A favorite of vacationers in Puri, he was recognized for his intricate works. Manmohan hailed from a household of servitors of the Jagannath temple — referred to as Rupakar Sevayats — who painted the gods’ chariots, and he used to current his works in Puri, Konark, Gopalpur and Visakhapatnam.

When Manmohan was invited to Mumbai for an exhibition in 1990, his expertise was observed by eminent Swiss sculptor and painter Benno Kaiser. With Kaiser’s encouragement and steerage, Manmohan participated in a significant worldwide sand sculpture competition in Canada 4 years later. This early recognition impressed the subsequent era of sand artists from Puri to pursue the artwork professionally.

Some years in the past, the Odisha authorities launched its formidable International Sand Art Festival at Chandrabhaga seashore on the Puri-Konark marine drive, timing it to coincide with the well-known three-decade-old Konark dance competition that takes place yearly between December 1 and 5. Barely 3 km from the spectacular Sun temple, the dance competition venue, the enormous sculptures appeal to a heavy footfall. The competition chooses one main topical challenge as its theme and options round 40 sculptors from around the globe.


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