He converts a wooden log into a piece of art

T.V. Sivanandan

Basanna Badiger works with neem tree logs which are known

for their hardness

GULBARGA: When the 65-year-old Basanna Monappa Badiger puts the chisel and the wooden hammer to work on a wooden log, he is a transformed man. His frail fingers work the wooden log into a piece of art.

Mr. Badiger, whose immense contribution to the art of wood carving, particularly the Surpur form, has at last been recognised by the Karnataka Shilpa Kala Academy. The academy has chosen Mr. Badiger, a father of seven, for the award this year.

Mr. Badiger’s brother, Naganna Badiger, is also a reputed wood sculptor, who was awarded the “Nadoja” (doctorate) by the Kannada University at Hampi in 2005, and the Shilpa Kala Academy award in 1998. Mr. Badiger’s father, Monappa, was also a renowned wood sculptor of the region.

“I am very happy” was all the emotionally charged winner could say about the honour. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 10,000, a commendation certificate and a shawl. Unlike the wood carvers elsewhere in the State, Mr. Badiger works with neem tree logs, which are known for their hardness.

Mr. Badiger said that he had trained several sculptors under him and was proud that two of his sons Mallikarjun and Srishail were developing into fine sculptors. Mr. Badiger stays in Andral village in Surpur taluk. Even in his ripe old age he keeps himself busy with the long list of work orders. “It keeps me young,” he added.

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