Raghunath Mohapatra appointed as Lalit Kala Akademi president

Bhubaneswar: Doyen of stone sculpture Padma Vibhusan Raghunath Mohapatra was on Saturday was appointed the president of Odisha Lalit Kala Akademi.

Giving his first reaction on this to OTV after his appointment, Mohapatra said, “I am happy that now I will directly work with the institution, which promotes the culture and tradition of our State. By the grace of Lord Jagannath, I will certainly work for the overall development of the institution. I am grateful to one and all who found me suitable for this responsible position.”

On his role for the Akademi, which was set up by Odisha government to encourage and promote study and research in the field of paintings, sculpture, architecture and applied arts, he said, “I will try to initiate awards for traditional art and paintings. Though the institution recognises modern art, the other forms of art are equally important which need encouragement from the institution.”

“We need to promote the works of Odisha through exhibitions outside the State so that talents of our artists can be showcased,” he added.

Asked about the Dharmapada award, which the has recently been marred by controversies relating to nominations, the noted sculptor stated that he will go through this. “I will look into the issues relating to Dharmapada award and the alleged irregularities. I hope I will be able to resolve it as soon as possible,” Mohapatra said.

His famous works include two 15-feet-tall Buddha statutes in white sand stone at the historic Dhauligiri Santi Stupa near the city, a gigantic lotus of 30 feet x 30 feet in a single black granite stone at Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s samadhi at Vir Bhumi, Rajghat, the 15-feet-tall Mukteswar Gate in red sand stone at Surajkund in Haryana and three 20-feet-high statues of Buddha in white sand stone at the Buddhist Monastery, Ladakh.

In 2013, he was chosen for India’s second highest civilian award — the Padma Vibhushan.