Growing up in a town of traditional sandalwood and ivory carvers can influence the aesthetic sensibility of its residents. It was no different for Ganesh Laxminarayan Bhat.
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In fact, even as he helped his priest father in the flower decoration of the temple idols in the Idagunji Ganesha Temple in Honnavar, District Uttara Kannada, young Ganesh was a keen observer of the shape and perspective of the idols.
After completing his 10th Class in Idagunji, Ganesh learnt about carving under the tutelage of eminent sculptors. These were State Awardee Sculptor Late Shri G Shanthappa Gudigar at Sagara and National Awardee Late Sri D Vadiraj at Bangalore for ten years in the Gurukula style. G L Bhat also studied Shilpa Shastra under Late Professor Rama Chandra Rao, acknowledged for his expertise in different forms of art. As a master sculptor, G L Bhat taught sculpting at the KPJ Prabhu Artisan’s Training Center at Jogaradoddi, District Bidadi for nearly two decades.
It is a special opportunity for the residents of Bangalore as G L Bhat is training in wood and stone carving for the very first time. He will conduct these classes in Sanathana Kalakshetra, a centre for training in different arts and crafts, located in 9th Main Road, 4th Block Jayanagar (adjacent to the Telephone Exchange) Sanathana Kalakshetra is conducting evening classes every Tuesday and Friday. Apart from a one time admission fee of Rs. 1000, the fee for the classes is Rs. 1000 per month.
The classes began last fortnight but sculptor enthusiasts should hurry if they want to learn. The students can purchase tools and the basic raw material (stone or wood blocks and other accessories) at extra cost.
The classes are open for anyone and all, irrespective of their education, profession or age. Call Sanathana Kalakshetra at 080-22441927 or Shri G L Bhat at 9844598113 for details.
Meantime, he got a chance to display his own sculptures in different countries. Till date, G L Bhat has trained more than 600 persons including poor rural youth, and adults in India. He also trains sculpture enthusiasts in the United Kingdom during his annual visit to attend the Art in Action, an international art festival.
At the Sanathana Kalakshetra, G L Bhat will be teaching the traditional techniques, "The criteria are an interest in carving and a willingness to learn. Helping the student learn the art is our duty!" says G L Bhat. As sculptures look complicated or are intricate, many sculpture enthusiasts feel that carving is difficult or beyond their capability. This is why G L Bhat takes the students from step to step, beginning with drawing to relief carvings and then on to the final sculpture. Sculpture and carving is also therapeutic, it gives birth and expression to creative thoughts in a person, says G L Bhat.
Indian sculptures are among the prominent ambassadors of the country’s heritage – learning wood and stone carving will enrich the understanding this rich sculptural tradition. ⊕