Reviving art of stone sculpting in Telangana

Kothagudem: Whether it is the great Indian temple sculptures, pyramids of Giza, or Mayan civilization, stones are the basic medium of expression. And these very stones are the medium for a group of master sculptures from across the nation gathered in the coal of town of Kothagudem to give shape to their innate feelings about contemporary world by creating an ensemble of sculptures.

They are here with a commitment to revive an age old art of stone sculpture at a first of its kind workshop in Telangana. The 10-day event from Dec 24 to Jan 2 is being organised by Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) and Hyderabad Arts and Culture Foundation.

Huge pink, red and yellow sandstone blocks each weighing around two to four tonnes have been brought from Baleshar and Khatu in Rajasthan for the purpose. Award winning sculptress-painter D. Snehalata Prasad of Hyderabad, an Art Officer (Sculpture) at Haryana’s Cultural Affairs Department, Hirday Kaushal and Rakesh Patnaik of Odisha are among the 10 sculptors who are displaying their skills painstakingly carving out the sculptures.

“Organising stone sculpture workshop at district level is indeed a good initiative by the SCCL to spread awareness among art enthusiasts, students and young generation. This helps them to appreciate the art form and may inspire them to become artists” Snehalata told Telangana Today.

She stressed on the need to have more such workshops at district level to give exposure to artists and to connect with people in promoting the art form. “I was part of a few workshops in Hyderabad but they are not at this level, this workshop is first of its kind in the State”, she noted.

Snehalata, who holds a PhD in Fine Arts and 25 years experience and entered into Limca Books of Records with her massive 64 feet long painting on canvass titled ‘Golden Era of Indian Arts’, felt that Indian artists have progressed technically.

“What is needed is government support to promote the art. Instead of hiring artists from abroad, local artists have to be encouraged, with proper funding and support we can create marvels and local talent” she averred.

Kaushal, with 35 years of experience in sculpting, said he feels passionate about sculpting and wants younger generation take art as profession to create something of cultural value. Many discount stone sculpting as hard labour but its creates culture and stone sculptures are eternal.

“Only one percent of Indian population is in the field of arts. Governments has to promote art, artists and teach art in schools. We are striving to revive the dying art form. Even if one person is motivated through this workshop to take art as profession our aim is fulfilled” he noted.

Kaushal explained that he was creating a two part abstract sculpture of ‘Kurmavatara’, symbolising time and continuity and a 3D formation of Batukamma in a Kundalini. Snehalata is creating a sculpture that speaks about the spirit of the SCCL.

Snehalata and Kaushal, whose works have been displayed on meridians on KMP Expressway in Haryana and other parts of the country, felt that of late people are giving space to sculptures in their lives. It resulted in increase in both work and earning. Youth can choose sculpting as profession.

“Art can bring development. For instance the world’s tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on the Narmada River at Kevadia in Gujarat brought tremendous development in the region” Kaushal noted.

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