BENGALURU: For 60 year old artist Madhavacharya Ramamurthy, creating life out of wood is in his blood.
A fifth generation artist and a
former government employee
who took voluntary retirement after 21 years of service, Ramamurthy’s claim to fame came when he was recognised at a national competition for wood art and felicitated by the President of India in 2017.
However, on Wednesday, his crown jewel came by way of his art finding its way into the hands of prime minister Narendra Modi on the
of the Bhoomi puja of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
Speaking to TOI, Ramamurthy said the 3.5 feet gift to PM Modi was in fact a miniature version of his 2017 award winning
Kodanda Rama statue
which is presently on display at the Ayodhya Shodh Samsthan.
“In 2017, when I recieved the felicitation from the President, the 7.5 feet statue was on display in Delhi. Having recognised the work, the Ayodhya research centre decided to purchase it from me through the government of Karnataka handicrafts emporium, Cauvery. The same was then appreciated by UP CM
and I was even felicitated in that state for my work. I was commissioned with the work of creating four such smaller statues about six months ago for the very purpose of
Ayodhya Ram Mandir
,” said Ramamurthy.
With each statute requiring no less than two and half months, the sculpture dedicated his next six months towards completing the order without knowing that one of them was for the PM.
“The first two statues which I had sent were distributed by the CM and was told “woh sab mantriyo ko dhe dhiye.” Only about 10 days prior to the event I was informed that one of the statues was for the PM. I immediately decided to put an extra effort into the statue with more detailing and intricacies in its work. Despite it being a physically and emotionally draining project, I pushed myself day and night and completed the order by August 1 and dispatched it,” he recalled.
The statue detailing, Ramamurthy says is a convergence of the Cholan and Hoysala art work.
“There are several styles of Rama in south India. But what captured my eye, when I was studying for my national competition, was the Cholan anatomical beauty and the Hoysala ornamental work in their statues. It proved to be my inspiration to design my own style of work,” he said.
With each statue weighing 7 to 8 kilos and of pure teakwood with each worth Rs 3 to Rs 3.5 lakh, the statue captured the essence and magnitude of the event which was held on Wednesday.
Today, having decided to go into isolation in Channapatna due to the rising Covid-19 pandemic cases in Bengaluru but continuously hounded by the media, Ramamurthy says he has no less than 10 to 12 more Rama idol works which has been commissioned by the UP government on the occasion of building the Ram Mandir.
When asked, if he will now move away from creating Lord Rama idols, Ramamurthy laughed and said: “With the demand for lord Rama I am guessing I will spend my lifetime in completing those works, afterall I am 60 years old. It is a good thing and will not complain.”