Passion Story Of Sudarsan Pattnaik: Representing Global Issues Through Sand Art

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Somanjana Chowdhury

18 Mar,2017

When Life Was A Real Challenge

He comes from a very poor family from Puri in Orissa. Because of the acute poverty, he and his two brothers couldn’t complete their primary education and that is one great disappointment for Sudarsan Pattnaik as he thinks that he missed the most important opportunity in life. Though he missed the chance of education, he had a lot of time to fall in love with other creative things that he was keen on. One of them was art, but he never thought that his will to learn art will take him to a platform he never imagined of.

“As a child, I liked to play with the sand on the beach and making or building something interesting was perhaps an extension of that playful nature.” – Sudarsan

Birth Of The Passion

Sudarsan had a lot of vision and imagination going on in his mind and he wanted to bring them out in the form of art but he had to find that platform where he could do it without paying a lot of money. Puri is the place of Lord Jagannath and famous for the big golden sea beach. So, Sudarshan's prayers were not left unheard for long.

“Puri golden beach is only 3 kilometers from my house. Gradually I self-learnt the art on the beach as I was not going to school.” – Sudarsan

Since the age of 12, Sudarsan started going to the beach before the dawn and used to make sand art and disappear before morning in fear of rejection. For two to three years he continued to do this and noticed that people started appreciating his sand sculptures gradually. Finally, he found the passion in him to actually master the art.

“With the blessings of the Lord, I slowly but steadily raised my art to its current elevated status without compromising on the quality and purity.” – Sudarsan

Loving What You Do To Its Fullest

Sudarsan took up the challenge to popularize sand art as a professional art form and started exhibiting sand art at various places in India and abroad by giving a new content and meaning to its form. Now he is mixing this art with burning issues. So it is designed to catch up with the imagination of people and generate large scale awareness. By doing this, sand art is gaining its recognition throughout the world and people are getting aware about important concerns such as Global Warming and HIV/AIDS.

“In recent years I have got wide-ranging positive feedbacks from international organizations as I took current national and international social problems such as World Peace, threatened Wildlife species, Terrorism, etc. and depicted it through the form of SAND ART to create public awareness.” – Sudarsan

All his arts on burning social issues have been extensively covered by the national and international electronic media like BBC, CNN, ABC, Doordarshan, Discovery, National Geography, NDTV, CNN-IBN and others as well as the print media. Not only that, but Sudarsan emerged as the gold medal winner at the World Sand Art Championship that was held in Bulgaria from May 26 to June 3, 2016. Again in 2017, his name got entered in the Guinness Book of World Records for building world's tallest sandcastle.

When Your Passion Has A Strong Base

During ancient and medieval times Sand art was very popular in Orissa. Sand art is mentioned in the writings of 14th Century great poet Balram Das of the Pancha Sakha fame. Despite vast coastlines and several beaches in India, this art has not flourished in modern times. The bright side is that through Sudarshan's work people have appreciated the beauty of this art. Sudarsan has a dream to popularize it throughout the world and he is continuously working towards it. He is waiting for last 10 years for a piece of land from the government of Orissa to set up the Sand Art Park in Puri. He is spending his award money on his students who have now become his extended family.

“My only endeavor is to popularize this art and nothing else. If I am able to inspire a few youngsters to take up this art, my dream will be fulfilled and I will do this art till my last breath” – Sudarsan

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Somanjana Chowdhury

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