It takes them over 100 manhours and Rs 50, 000 to create art out of solid bronze blocks.
To lose even one artwork is a great loss for sculptors at the Lalit Kala Kutir in Garhi Village, East of Kailash (Southeast Delhi). And seven of them have already lost eight idols to thieves.
The approximate worth of the items stolen from inside the Lalit Kala Kutir premises amount to Rs 6 lakh.
According to artists, who use the workshop at the centre, the first idol was stolen on July 12 this year. A series of thefts from inside the storage area that is locked at night have followed.
“It is shocking. We spend a lot of time, imagination and money to make one creation. All these efforts go down the drain when they are stolen from the place where we feel our artwork will be secure,” Devi Dass Khatri, a bronze sculptor, said.
His bronze idol ‘Woman’ — worth Rs 80, 000 — was one of those stolen. Khatri went on to allege the administration at Lalit Kala Kutir is hand in glove and it is a conspiracy to drive them out of the place.
“The staff is involved in helping thieves steal our artwork,” he said.
“Otherwise how can one commit burglaries since the place is kept locked at night. We have been complaining to the administration but nothing has happened till now.”
A few other artists and him even complained to the police about the thefts.
R.K. Goloo another sculptor has lost four bronze idols.
“We had to complain to police as the administration here was not doing anything,” he said.
“I have lost around Rs 1 lakh worth of my work. I am yet to get any reply from the police or the administration."
He added that these burglaries were just a ploy of the administration to drive them out of the place, as they want to vacate the premises for renovation.
But the administration has refuted the allegations.
Ashok Bajpai, chairman, Lalit Kala Akademi, said, “All these allegations are false. If any of the employees at the Kutir were involved by any chance we would take strict action against them. But we are not trying to drive them out by doing such illegal activities. It is absurd.”