This Durga Puja, visitors to the Ahiritola Yubak Brinda's pandal in north Kolkata will not be greeted with the usual image of the Goddess slaying the demon.
Instead, they will come upon Mahisasura facing Durga, whose faces only are depicted in a battle scene of a different kind, sculpted by noted sand artist Sudarsan Pattanaik to drive home the danger posed to humanity by a new-age demon: Global Warming.
"When the organisers approached me for a theme, I thought this would be the most relevant," Pattanaik, who has made it a mission to raise awareness on global warming through his art, told PTI.
To drive home the enormity of the danger, the sculptor has created a fierce, larger-than-life face of Mahisasura, biting a burning globe as if about to devour it. "Save us from Global Warming," reads a legend engraved in sand.
"The globe symbolises the Earth. The words engraved in the legend should be everybody's prayer in these days of unhindered assault on the environment," the sculptor said.
Asked why only the face of Durga and her arch enemy only were depicted, Pattanaik said, "I felt the movements of the traditional Durga-Mahisasura battle are not relevant in this post-globalised world threatened by global warming. The battle has become subtle with the mind having to do more with it."
So why does his Durga appear passive, almost resigned, unlike traditional images? This is to convey man's helplessness in the fight against global warming, Pattanaik said.