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12 gems of India etched for posterity at a bust-making camp

January 25, 2023 08:35 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:44 am IST - PALAKKAD

Sculptor Saji C.R. giving final touches to the bust of Shivaji on the last day of a bust-making camp at Ahalia Heritage Village, Kanjikode, on Wednesday.

Sculptor Saji C.R. giving final touches to the bust of Shivaji on the last day of a bust-making camp at Ahalia Heritage Village, Kanjikode, on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A dozen-odd sculptors wound up their 10-day-long cement bust-making camp at Ahalia Heritage Village at Kanjikode, near here, on Wednesday, leaving behind wonderful busts of 12 people who made a difference for India.

The two-feet cement busts of Shivaji, Gandhi, Netaji, Ambedkar, Patel, Kalam, C.V. Raman, Jamsetji Tata, Homi Bhabha, Vayalar, and Lata Mangeshkar will now join the two-dozen busts resting at the up-and-coming Bust Park at the Ahalia Heritage Village.

“This is the second bust camp we have undertaken. We will definitely have more. In the first camp held in 2017, two dozen busts were made,” said Heritage Village director R.V.K. Varma and camp director Devan Madangarly.

The wheelchair-friendly Bust Park has the busts of 24 great personalities, including Picasso, Raja Ravi Varma, Tagore, Satyajit Ray, Rukmini Devi Arundale, Vivekananda, Ayyankali, Sree Narayana Guru, O.V. Vijayan, Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Bismillah Khan, Kavalam Narayana Panicker, Sarojini Naidu, Mahesweta Devi and Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar.

The artists were beaming when they posed with their works as the camp concluded on Wednesday. Each of the 12 busts was done carefully not only by the total involvement of the sculptor, but also by bringing out some key characteristic of the celebrity.

Senior sculptor Sanul Kuttan was busy till the last moment of the camp as he made an iron spectacle for B.R. Ambedkar. Graduated from Santiniketan, Sanul said he chose a rare picture of Ambedkar without a coat for his bust.

Sreekumar Unnikrishnan had a red rose behind Nehru’s bust. “Usually Nehru keeps a red rose in his coat pocket. The rose is really inside of Nehru. We will understand it when we study the great leader,” said Sreekumar.

Young sculptor Mohammed Aslam pointed out to the symbols of Raman Effect behind the bust even as he gave a finishing coat to C.V. Raman’s trademark turban.

Sarath Sasi made Netaji’s bust unique by cleverly inscribing Jai Hindi behind. “That’s what makes each bust unique. Each of those personalities has something sharp and unique about them. If it creates a spark in the viewer to know more about that personality, that is the triumph of an artist,” said Dr. Varma.

Mary Jyothis from Kochi gave life to Lata Mangeshkar when Sandra Thomas from Kottayam sculpted Vayalar. The roots and leaves behind Vayalar’s bust symbolized his love of nature.

Akhilesh D.R. sculpted Homi Bhabha with the symbol of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre behind the bust. Arun K.S. took hardly six days to sculpt Jamsetji Tata, the founder of Tata Group. He embosomed Air India’s Maharaja symbol on Tata’s chest.

When Sanju Ragini created Gandhi bust by etching a spinning wheel behind it, Ajeesh C. sculpted A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and created a symbolic dream of endless flight behind it.

The famous Rajmudra or seal of Shivaji was beautifully created behind an amazing bust of the Maratha leader. Senior artist Saji C.R. displayed his talent in giving life to Shivaji.

“The syncretism of our culture can be brought out through such art camps. Everyone, including the artists and the people at large, stands to gain from such camps,” said Sharat M. Soman, chief executive officer of Ahalia Group of Institutions.

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