Ashok Kumar, Bihar’s budding sand artist, strives for attention
The sands on the Saryu may not be the same as the sands on the beaches of Odisha. But that has not deterred Ashok Kumar -Bihar’s Sudarshan Pattnaik - state’s budding sand artist, who has caught the fancy of art admirers through his creations.patna Updated: Dec 12, 2016 18:40 IST
The sands on the Saryu may not be the same as the sands on the beaches of Odisha. But that has not deterred Ashok Kumar, Bihar’s budding sand artist who has caught the fancy of art admirers through his creations.
Using his hands, sand and soul, Kumar has been creating a wonderful and magical sand fantasy, a la Sudarshan Pattnaik-style, that can amaze any viewer.
Saryu sand is the canvas for this Nawaji Tola Dharmsala resident, a small village on the river bank. Ashok, who turns 40 this December 15 said, “I learnt the art of making portraits from my teacher Mehdi Sao. He taught me sand art, wood art and painting. But the real inspiration to make sand sculptors came from Pattnaik.”
He was attracted to sand art while playing with children on the river banks. He pursued the craft vigorously for years till he achieved finesse and slowly raised the quality of his art.
Kumar’s latest sand figures of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, of AIDs Day theme, salute to martyrs to those killed in recent terrorist attacks and heart touching sand depiction of the Indore-Patna Express mishap, are some creations that brought him to limelight.
“It requires 10-12 hours to complete a sand image. The one of Jayalalithaa took 10 hours,” said Kumar, who has successfully showcased his wooden sculpture at different fests at Jaipur, Guwahati (National Youth Fest) and in Patna. “I received appreciation but am yet to get any recognition for my art,” said Kumar, who makes art signboards and wall paintings to meet his needs.
Kumar, who lost his ancestral home to Saryu’s erosion, earns a meagre Rs 10,000 per month from his signboard makings, said that sand art was not only time consuming but also required money and raw materials.
“I used 10 kg of gum to make TN CM’s figure to keep it intact,” he said. “Big sand figures require deploying labourers, who charge Rs 300 per day,” he added, while narrating how he was finding it difficult to keep his hobby going.
Presently working on Bihar government’s dream project of prohibition, Kumar with the help of 10 labourers is making a 400 feet long theme depicting illeffects of prohibition.
Bihar’s Pattnaik is not only a sand artist, who wishes to work alongside the Padma awardee, he is also a trained diver of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF).
“I have so far saved more than 150 people from drowning,” he proudly adds.