Conjuring up a magic with stone

(image) Bhubaneswar: Art flows through the hands of the artist into the artifact and a piece of art tells for thousand words. The beauty of the art lies in the handy artwork of the sculptor, who gives his heart and soul to his creation.  Here is an artist in the state who pursues a career in stonecrafting day in and day out. He conjures up a magic with his golden hands, instills life in the lifeless sculptures and the sculptures, carved out of stones, slowly appear lively. One among them is Manoj Muduli of Icchapur village under Cuttack district, the famous stone crafter of the state. The incessant sound of the hammer and chisel coin an artful ambience for the sculptor, making him engrossed in his own creation.

He developed a passion for stonecrafting from his childhood, for which he joined Handicraft Training Centre at Konark, to study the fine techniques pertaining to the age-old art. In the institute he learned many finer aspects of stone craft with dedication and developed his skills of inscribing on stones.  His 12 long years of practice in this line has not only brought him laurels from inside the state but outside the state as well.

“After completing my graduations I had undergone two years training at the government handicraft training institute. Then I worked in Chennai, Rajasthan and Delhi. I had also worked at Swaminarayan temple in Delhi. However we often don’t get proper price from the government for our sculptures”, said Manoj Muduli, sculptor.

After spending a long time outside Orissa, Muduli retuned home and established his own stonecraft institute, just to nurture his skills and dreams. As a successful stonecrafting artist he has groomed his own institute with an ambition to create new hands for the sustenance of the art form.  The sculptor of the institute create exquisite and stunning  sculptors and later on are sent to  far-off places, like Chennai and Maharastra among others, for sale. Apart from big sculptures the artists also make number of small ones, meant for prettification of the house.

“Since last three years I have been working with Manoj Sir. Apart from local order swe procure orders from Chennai, Delhi and other outside places. We mainly construct Shiva Lingams, besides other divine images, to meet local orders”, said Jagannath Muduli, sculptor.

However, normally it takes more time to carve out sculptures from black granite stone, than from other stones.  Definitely the skill of stone craft, another form of artistic excellence, comes through relentless practice.