Eminent Odia sculptor Adwaita Gadanayak has been chosen to create the 25-feet statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, set to come up at India Gate soon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement on Friday, adding that the statue installation will be a symbol of the nation’s indebtedness to the iconic freedom fighter.
“I am delighted. It is a matter of honour for me as a sculptor that Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to give this responsibility to me,” Adwaita told Livemint about being chosen for the opportunity.
Hailing from Neulapoi village of Dhenkanal district, Adwaita is popular for creating larger than life sculptures. Art was ever present during his childhood — his father was a spiritual dancer who performed the dand nacha, a ritual dating back to the Kalinga kingdom, reports Business Standard.
He was originally a science student, and it was his professor who took him to an art gallery after seeing his art skills in zoology and botany.
He then headed to BK College of Arts and Crafts in Bhubaneswar for a bachelor’s degree, following which he moved to Delhi School of Arts for a master’s degree. He also pursued a postgrad degree from Slade College of Fine Arts in London.
Gadanayak is a faculty member of the School of Sculpture at KIIT University in Bhubaneswar. He is currently the director-general of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) under the Ministry of Culture.
During his tenure, he has brought many changes to the gallery in an effort to turn it into a hub of art enthusiasts. “I want it [NGMA] to be the kind of place where people might say to each other, ‘Let’s meet at NGMA’,” Gadanayak told Business Standard.
He introduced the practice of art addas at the gallery on the last Friday of every month. With this, he revived a ritual from the 50s and 60s, wherein artists, scholars, curators, gallerists, filmmakers and writers would meet over tea to exchange ideas. “These sessions are open to all and are always packed,” he said.
He is most notable for the ‘Dandi March’ installation at Raj Ghat in Delhi, which is considered one his masterpieces till date. He depicted the Gandhi household ‘Hriday Kunj’ at the Gandhi Museum through his work, and created a sculptor park at the KIIT campus, which is a beautiful outdoor installation. All his sculptures are made out of black granite.
Of his latest project, he told The New Indian Express, “Since Netaji was a very strong character, we thought of granite as a medium to sculpt his statue because it is an extremely hard stone. Besides, we associate the energy of black colour with deities like Goddess Mahakali and Lord Krishna. Hence, jet black granite was a perfect choice for Netaji’s statue.” A prototype of the statue was sent by the NGMA for PM’s reference.
WIth the help of 25-30 sculptors and granite artisans, the statue is set to be completed within eight months, and will be installed on the 75th Independence Day.
According to various reports, it will be installed under a canopy, and until its completion, a hologram statue of Netaji would be kept at the same place.
Edited by Divya Sethu