“I Am My Own Success Story” Says Sand Artist Sudarhsan Pattnaik
A person who has been imbibed with utmost artistic skills. He who could very well pave the way to the viewer’s hearts with his enthralling pieces of art. He has honed his skills of artistic acumen to such an extent that he has been undoubtedly acknowledged all over the world. Such is the creator of Sand art in India, Sudarshan Pattnaik who came out from a small town in Puri and apparently his childhood was filled with struggles. “I was working in my neighbour’s house and in the paan shop too. I had to struggle a lot”.
Sudarsan Pattnaik (born 15 April 1977) is an Indian sand artist from Odisha. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2014.
He started sculpting images on sand since the age of seven and has designed hundreds of sand art. Moreover, he was the brand ambassador of NALCO, India.
Pattnaik has represented India in 50 international Sand Sculpture Championship and festivals all over the world and won 27 championship prizes for the country. He received a gold medalat Saint Peters Burg in the 12th International Sand Sculpture Competition at Russia, Danish grand prizes at International Sand Competition Championship, Denmark and won Moscow museum Prize at Russia. He established “ The Golden Sand Art Institute” in Puri . His Sculpture speaks a lot about environmental crisis, famous festivals, national integrity and religious tolerance. He has always used his artistic excellence in conveying messages about social issues.
His sand sculpture on Black Taj Mahal earned him accolades all over the world.
There are many artists who use colour as a significant medium to depict meaning out of their art but you use sand for the same. When and how did the idea strike you? Why did you decide to be a sand artist in the first place?
When I was a child, I was very interested in drawings and using colours for the same but my life was filled with challenges and due to my financial conditions it was very difficult to buy colours, papers, pencils, etc. but luckily my house was situated near the seaside, therefore, sand became a canvas that was affordable and I didn’t have to spend money on it. It was only then I realised I have been fortunate.
How was your journey so far? What were the challenges?
From the very beginning things were very challenging. I have done my schooling until 6th standard. I have not had any further education in higher studies. I was working in my neighbour’s home like a child labour. My father wasn’t staying with me and I depended on my grandfather’s pension which was around Rs.200. This is the reason why I started working in my neighbour’s house. Along with the work I took out time for sand art. It is a new medium. There were a lot of challenges that came by my way and my struggle wasn’t easy but somehow I managed to be successful and won many prizes nationally as well as internationally.
Who all have been instrumental in leading to your story of success?
No one in particular. Definetely there were many people who supported me and were by my side but I believe I was my own success story in the end.
You have an art institute in Puri. How does it work for your students?
It basically depends on them and their interest and capability. If only they remain dedicated, it is not going to be difficult for them. There are many students who have performed internationally after getting tutored in the art institute and they have been very successful.
You have won a lot of people’s choice prizes. It is a peoples art form?
All of my art forms deal with current social issues. This is the reason people easily get connected with these sculptures. Globally, I have won a lot of people’s choice prizes, this is because people can very well relate it with themselves.
Mostly, What kind of messages do you convey through your art?
Most of my art forms are all about current social issues. Of intense ocial degradation, social evils, society today, etc. I believe that these issues should be discussed in the today’s world and putting it artistically will draw a lot of people’s attention.
Now that you have been internationally recognised. Do you think there is a slight change in the mindset of the people about sand art?
Definitely. Even though it is a temporary art, it draws the attention of lots of people. The Konark International sand art festival of Akshay tourism is held every year where more than 500000 of people visit it in five days.
What about funding?
I have been performing globally. Whether it is nationally or internationally, I perform everywhere and I am funded by these people for whom I perform. Also, this is how I utilize it in the functioning of the art institute.
Any message you want to convey to the young artists?
I want to convey a lot of messages to the youngsters who dream of something great in life. I believe that whichever field you want to be in , you should be very focussed and shouldn’t give up at all. If sand can give you a life step up, if an uneducated person can do wonders, your dedication will bring you near your success. Therefore, I ask you all to have a strong will power. Moreover, blessings from your elders will help you reach the peak of success one day.