We hardly blink an eye while paring the finger nails. After all, they are more of a hindrance for our daily work if they are left untrimmed. But Sistla Ramakrishna Rao, a septuagenarian from Vishakhapatnam, put his nails to create mesmerising art pieces.

Using nails of his left thumb and left middle finger, Mr. Rao pioneered the art of creating 3D portraits and art pieces by embossing the figures on 5 x 7-inch plain paper. Starting his endeavour without any guidance in 1947, Mr. Rao has about one lakh nail art pieces to his credit.

But that is not all; he also painstakingly created picture story books of ‘Valmiki Ramayanam’, ‘Hanuman Charitra’, ‘Bhagavatam’ and The Bible and is currently creating another collection based on ‘Palanati Yuddham’.

Creating lifelike embossed pictures took a toll on the health of Mr. Rao who underwent two surgeries for neurological problems. “I used to work for more than 12 hours a day in creating these pictures. Because of this, nerves in my hands were damaged. I still do create new portraits but not with the same speed,” he said, interacting with reporters on Wednesday.

Recipient of many awards, records and honours, Mr. Rao, however, is afraid that his art form might end with him. “I want to request the government to recognise this nail art to be on a par with other fine arts and include it as a part of formal curriculum in colleges and universities,” he said.

“This is a unique art form in the world and government should take steps to preserve it even after my demise. Children between ages 10 and 15 can learn this art quite effortlessly and incorporating this as a part of art classes for these children is the best way to carry my heritage forward,” he said. Mr. Rao’s collection is available on his website ‘www.rksista.com’.


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