BANGALORE: Around 300 artisans from across the country will be showcasing their sculpting and stonework in the city for the next four days at ‘Stona 2012’, a stone and granite exhibition being held at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre between February 1-4. ‘Shilpagram’ which is an exhibition at ‘Stona’ for artists who would like to exhibit their products is located at the helipad of the convention centre and features artists and students of arts schools in the country.
“All ‘Shilpagram’ stalls are free of cost. We are not charging them anything for the stalls,” said Ishwinder Singh, Chairman of Stona 2012. The stalls have artisans from places like Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ambaji, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka and features creations in granite, marble, sandstone, ceramic and other materials.
‘Shilpagram’ also has this year a 20 ft monolithic statue of Anjaneya which is carved out of black granite and took two years to finish. Built according to Shipla Shastras which dictate terms like scale and proportion of statues, the Anjaneya temple along with two elephants will adorn the San Marga Iraivan Temple at a Hindu Monastery in Kauai, Hawaii, USA. Built entirely out of stone from the flooring to the Gopura, the temple has been under construction since 1989 and has required at least 1000 metric tonnes of granite temple carved stones from India.
“The statue is made of high quality black granite and weighs five tonnes, it is just 10 per cent of the raw block weight. It took our team 2,500 hours of labour to finish it,” said Senthilathiban Rajasankara who along with his brother Thuraisingam R and Father Jiva R has worked on this mammoth project.
“I specialise in making waterfalls from natural rock. It is a sensitive process as while drilling one has to make sure the stone does not break,” said Manjunath, of Ravi Creations. His stall featured fossil rocks collected from the forests on the Andhra Border which he has elaborately carved to resemble natural rock waterfalls. “It takes about 3-4 days to finish one of these projects. My biggest one so far is installed in palace grounds,” added Manjunath. The waterfalls cost anywhere between 5,000 to 35,000.
“I am studying Bachelors of Visual Arts and learning about stone sculpting. We have varied subjects like Stone Temple Architecture, traditional sculptures and drawing,” said Shivprasad M of the Gangarasa Shilpakala Shikshakara Kendra, Chennpatna. He added that the course graduates have the option of starting their own businesses or applying for government
Also present at Shilpagram was D Vijikar who has earlier gained fame by sculpting the tallest statue of Jesus Christ which stands 29 feet tall and is located in the city at Nagwara. He was finishing up a Ganesha made on Krishnashilaya stone from HD Kote near Mysore.
Showcasing an innovative solution for rural poor children wishing to study arts was the Government of Gujarat which has last year started two centers which provide free training to students wishing to study to become machine operators, sculptors and other assorted jobs. “We were facing a shortage of skilled labour in Gujarat and hence decided to start this institute. There are 1 week initialisation courses, 3 month courses and 1 year courses and the government will bear the expenses till the student is placed. We even give them a 100 rupee stipend,” said Vinay Vyasa, Commissioner, Geology and Mining, Government of Gujarat.
The schools are jointly expected to churn out 1200 skilled workers every year. “Although currently focused on students from the state we will be opening admissions to students from all over the country soon,” added Vyasa.