We caught up with the artist to know more about the installation and how did he shortlist the elements. “This sand installation is an attempt to celebrate Tamil Nadu’s pride symbols and highlight the Tamil way of life, which lays great emphasis on being process-oriented. The sand installation has featured famous motifs deeply rooted in Tamil Nadu’s culture — the intricate golden motifs from the Kanjeevaram saree designs, kolam, poses from Bharatnatyam, Tanjore dolls and Chennai Central Railway Station. I am thrilled to showcase the state’s glory through my sand art and hope this creates a lot of awareness on the TN’s regional art and culture,” Sudarsan Pattnaik tells DT Next.
The artist, who did the installation in collaboration with Tata Tea Chakra Gold, opines that Chennai has for long been an artisan’s hub. “The city is home to a number of artists and encourages many other regional art forms. There are many well-known art galleries here that invite art connoisseurs from all over the country. There is great awareness when it comes to promoting art and culture here and this trend will definitely continue to grow in the coming years,” he remarks.
When quizzed how he conceptualises design elements for each of the creations, he says, “I first shortlist a topic which forms the base for my design concept. A lot of research goes into it before deciding on the final elements to be incorporated. I pay great attention to sketching and visualising the idea before converting it into the finished piece. It’s safe to say that the final installation is a result of days, if not weeks of preparation and meticulous planning.”
A recipient of many international awards and recognitions, Sudarsan agrees that many artists around the globe were inevitably affected during the pandemic. “I too underwent quite a few challenges. Many international sand art festivals were postponed owing to travel restrictions and I was unable to participate in them, something that was really difficult personally. This is in fact my first trip outside my state, Odisha, since the first lockdown. The pandemic has affected us financially but more morally since many of us had to undergo the loss of loved ones and general disillusionment. This is why during the pandemic, I took upon myself to work on a lot of social and COVID-related messages to create awareness among people which gave me immense satisfaction,” the artist concludes.
For the past many years, the artist has been working towards creating social awareness in the national and international arena on key issues like global warming, terrorism, AIDS, saving endangered wildlife species, Swachh Bharat, COVID-19 and world peace.