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Athens bound

S.D. Hariprasad's sculpture `He' is selected for the Artiade - Olympics of Visual Art 2004 to be held along with the Olympic Games

VISAKHAPATNAM-BASED sculptor S.D. Hari Prasad Achari will be one of the three lucky Indian artists (the other two being Ashish Ghosh and Manik Shinge) to go on an Olmpian odyssey.

His sculpture `He' has been selected for the Artiade - Olympics of Visual Art at Athens. The sculpture will be on display from August 12 to September 29.

Hariprasad is one of the 172 artists selected from 78 participating nations by an international jury and his work was selected from 4,500 entries from 120 nations.

Just as his sculpture symbolises hope against all odds, Hariprasad too is hopeful of a good trip, which will expose him and his work to international art and artists.

The exhibition - Olympics of Visual Art - was first held at Atlanta in 1996 along with the Olympics. Works were exhibited by artists from participating nations. Here art is a means of communication along with sport.

"I read about the exhibition on the Internet. I had already started work on a piece of stone. When I read about the concept - `Spirit of the age' (where artists from the fields of painting, sculpture and installation are required to make works which document emotions, traditions and political and social events of their country - in short the spirit of their age). I moulded it to suit the concept," says Hariprasad, who is proud to be a cultural ambassador.

His sculpture in hard sandstone is all about hope against adversity. `He' is "about courage against the physical and psychological pressures and burdens". As the artist says: " I have tried to sculpt my observations and assumptions about an average citizen of India. Globalisation forced us to compete with technically developed nations with our conventional methods and systems.

Many Indians depend on agriculture and handicraft sector. In the last three years due to drought and other reasons, farmers and artisans (especially weavers) have committed suicide.

This situation forced me to create this work." Therefore, the torso of a man with another body on his shoulders shows the load yet displays a high confidence.

Ultimately it's the triumph of the human spirit. With dimensions of 0.54 m (length), 0.55 m (width) and 0.94 m (height), this sculpture weighs about 180 kgs.

For an artist who mainly sculpts heads, this sculpture is a different composition made in a month's time. Various textures have been chiselled too.

Hariprasad's week-long trip to Athens as well as the freight charges of the sculpture are being sponsored by Prshant Lahoti of Kalakriti Art Gallery. In fact `He' was exhibited at the Gallery for a day.

"I feel proud to be selected for such an international event," says a happy Hariprasad. This is good for Indian art and hope Hariprasad comes back with more laurels.


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