HYDERABAD: As you take a stroll through the colossal hall at the Devnar School for the Blind, for a moment, you may think you have been transported to the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum! But wait, the sculptures dotting the hall aren’t made of wax but are carved on chalk pieces.
The inspiration for the brain behind the exhibits, though, is Madame Tussauds.
“It all began when my friend asked me to paint.
I, somehow, found a chalk piece at that moment and had this weird idea of carving Hanuman on it.
I failed a couple of times and wasted two or three chalks.
But, finally did it,” recalls D Naveen Kumar, a 22-year-old who has developed a knack for chalk piece sculpting when he was just 17.
Displayed at the school in the city are about 100 of his creations including those of politicians, freedom-fighters, scientists, gods and goddesses.
Each sculpture has beside it a description of the respective personality in the Braille script for the benefit of the visually challenged students.
But why choose a school for the visually challenged for his first ever exhibition? “It is not about whether you are visually challenged, it is about having the determination to do so.
Since these students are visually challenged, they are allowed to touch and feel the sculptures,” explains Naveen.
Sharing his own experiences, the degree final year student of the Shiva Shivani Degree College confesses that at first he was quite shy about showing his sculpted chalks to his teachers.
“My friends compelled me to show them to one of my teachers when I was in Intermediate.
And, I haven’t looked back since,” he quips.
As astonishing as it sounds, Naveen carved more than 20 sculptures without using a magnifying glass.
Following this, he suffered a severe headache as his work demanded utmost concentration.
“It takes two days to carve an image on a chalk piece.
I will have to waste two or three chalks to get it right.
The most difficult part about carving is to bring out expressions on one’s face.
It takes one day to do that,” explains the young sculptor.
The talented youngster attributes his interest in sculpting to his hobby, painting.
His weapons are a needle and a pencil pen which he uses intelligently to transform a chalk piece into the image of anyone, be it god or man.
He also carves on stones.
“For that, I use a diamond pen,” he says.
What is most appealing is the way he displays the sculptures.
A liquor bottle’s cap filled with silicon is used as the base to support these chalkpiece sculptures.
“Silicon is flexible and holds the sculpture well without breaking it.
And, liquor bottle caps because I thought of putting them to use instead of throwing them away,” he laughs.
Naveen’s next exhibitions will be at the Shiva Shivani Degree College and at the Osmania University auditorium.