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In Kalpana's memory

Imagine a sculpture of a spaceship in the memory of Kalpana Chawla made from cow dung!

india Updated: Sep 14, 2005 20:33 IST

Imagine a beautiful sculpture of a spaceship in the memory of Kalpana Chawla made from cow dung! Wait, there's more. An image of Lord Hanuman with Lord Rama and Sita 'etched' in his 'heart', a meditating Lord Shiva, a woman offering 'aarti', celebrating joys of motherhood and birth of a child.

Hailing from Kurukshetra, a group of artisans have been working for the past decade to "revive" the tradition of cow dung sculptures.

"Sculpting with cow dung is not a new concept. It's just that now it's getting the attention that it so rightfully deserved," says Sharad Kumar, a freelance artist and designer with the Asian Heritage Foundation, who also runs a centre for Art & Culture in Patna.

In fact, it was Kumar who encouraged the villagers of Kurukshetra to experiment with locally-available materials like cow dung, jute, straw and embroidery threads to give form to their concepts and imagination, way back in 93-94 when he conducted a workshop with them.

Cow-dung scultping can be traced back to as many as 700-800 years, claims Man Singh, an artisan from Kurukshetra, asserting that now only forms and structures have changed.

"Since long, cow dung was traditionally used to make Sanjhis', a goddess worshipped primarily by womenfolk in Haryana. 'Sanjhi' is an artwork made from cowdung and clay. The women have been making them for centuries. It's a part of our culture and traditions," he says.

First Published: Sep 14, 2005 20:33 IST