HUBBALLI: Every time he sees a coconut, his eyes shine! His advice to all: Don’t throw those coconut shells, you can turn them into beautiful objects of art. A Dharwad man has been fashioning intricate pieces of sculpture on the dry coconut shell.Carving over the husk of a coconut and rendering it an artistic design is no easy task, but Jagadish Bhavikatti (45) has not only achieved that, but has perfectly shaped the raw material into models of animals, leaders, Gods, and more. Having completed thousands of art pieces, his collection today includes folk art, Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys, Charkha, the Buddha, Rabindranath Tagore, Siddaganga Mutt seer Shivakumara Swamiji, Sir M Visvesvaraya, Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Hanuman, and tea cups, among others.
Bhavikatti, who resides in Kelageri, picked up his talent at home. His parents nurtured his skills from a young age, which he continued to develop thereafter. “My mother Girijamma and father Virupaksha Gouda come from a rural background. They used to create art from coconuts, waste pieces of wood, paddy grass and other eco-friendly materials that were easily available around the village. Learning from them, I have applied my own mind to sculpt on dry coconuts,” he says.
Bhavikatti’s family members, including his children and younger brothers, also join him in celebrating the art. His brothers help him procure raw materials such as large dry coconuts from nearby farms, the lightweight trunk of calotropis, bamboo, and paddy grass, all of which are transformed into splendid works of art by Bhavikatti.
Younger brother Veeranagowda says they are not interested in making such types of art pieces that are replaced by plastic idols and decorative items. When his brother exhibited his skill at some exhibitions and received appreciation, he also began to support him.Bhavikatti is employed as a garden supervisor at Dharwad’s SDM Engineering College. After his shift, when he returns home, all his attention turns to his art. About three hours later, he has completed at least two works.
His art has brought Bhavikatti many accolades. He has exhibited his talent at more than 40 exhibitions across the state, including the Krishi Mela and Horticulture Mela, and has been felicitated by several organisations and institutions. Many folk enthusiasts also documented his work in a small book, following which the National Virtual University for Peace and Education of Bengaluru also conferred him with an honorary doctorate in February this year.
As many as 500 of Bhavikatti’s art pieces made from dry coconuts have been placed in the permanent exhibition centre of the Horticulture Research and Extension Station, Arsikere, Hassan district. Today, people from far and near are impressed with his artistic brilliance and want to adorn their space with a work of coconut art or two. For instance, Basavaraj Patil from Dharwad has planned on gifting a unique piece to his friend at his wedding.