Metal art comes calling at Karkal

The 15 days metal casting art camp held at Koti-Chennaiah Theme Park threw open the intricacies of wonderful tribal traditional art culture rarely accessible to the urban world.

Artistes at the 15 days metal casting art camp at Koti-Chennaiah Theme Park at Karkal.

The 15 days art camp has innovated and exhumed the most complex fiber of art that is on the verge of extinct, except for some tribal groups across Chattisgarh and Kerala. The metal casting art camp was arranged by Archeological and Geological Department of Karnataka. As many as 10 artists from Bastar village in Chattisgarh, Karnataka and Kerala are taking part in the camp and about 15 artists are trained with the particulars of metal casting art. Of the 10 artists, four each are from Chattisgarh and Karnataka and two are from Kerala.

Different methods

There are three types of methods used in the metal casting art. Chattisgarh (Bastar) wax method, Kerala lost wax method and Udupi wax method. Accordingly, the artist trainees were grouped into three groups and were taught the skills that are involved.

Artist Purshottham Adve informed that the metal casting art is not generally practiced by the artists in these areas. Some two to three artists work on this art. However, it is hard to get the delicate finishing that was adorned once upon a time. In the olden days, artists generally enjoyed carving the artifacts and the metals used for the purpose would result in delicate dying, he added.

Metal casting is one of the tough arts and painters do not agree to spend the amount of time and hard work needed for the art.

There are two types of casting, namely solid and hollow casting. The process involves five major steps which demands perfect dedication and patience of the artist who is into it. In the beginning, the basic structure or model is prepared using anthill clay or the special clay that is available on the banks of Bastar River.

The structure is dried in the hot sun, following which the wax is applied and the features of the structure is done on the wax.

Bastar artists use wax thread to wrap the structure, while the artists from Udupi and Kerala use plain sheets of wax to apply around the structure. After the wax coating, once again another layer of clay is applied.

Finally, it is exposed to fire heat at high temperature, where the perfect mould of the structure emerges out.

The liquid form of metal is poured into the mould while on heat and later is let to cool down. Brass and bronze are the metals generally used for metal casting. As many as 200 kgs of metals were used by the artists on the occasion.

Folk art

Most of the structures that were sculpted include folk art culture of Tulunadu. “Panjurli,” “Nandikeshwara,” “Malaraya,” “Dhoomavati,” “Kambala Kona,” “Varaha,” and “Ananthashayana.” Artist Paramesh D Jolad informed that it is a rare opportunity to know something about the art that is slowly diminishing from the mainstream art culture. Artists rarely go for metal casting art owing to the hard work that is involved, he added. Another artist Hemavathi M said “the camp is very effective and helped me to learn many things”.

Adve said the artifacts will be handed over to the Archeological department.

In turn, the department returns it back to Koti-Chennaiah Theme park, after displaying it at the museum in Bangalore, he added.

The artists from Bastar village are Balmukund Nag, Vinod Baghel, Bala Kumar and Bansilal.

Vinod Baghel is the grandson of the artist Jaydev Baghel who won Padmabhushan for Bastar art. Reji Nellikapalli and Sringaram are the artists from Kerala. Ratnakar Achar, Akshay Kumar, Rajesh and Raghvendra Achar are the artists from Karnataka who took part in the camp.

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