Council chairperson firm on choice of sculptor for Gandhi statue

Council chairperson firm on choice of sculptor for Gandhi statue

Shilpakala Academy to give expert approval

Legislative Council Chairperson D H Shankaramurthy, who is under pressure from a section of artists, on Tuesday roped in the Karnataka Shilpakala Academy to evaluate the Mahatma Gandhi statue project.

The proposed 30-foot-tall Gandhi statue, to be sculpted by artist B D Jagadish, will stand between Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha.

Several artists had requested Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar to entrust the sculpture to Ram Sutar, an artist who received accolades for sculpting the Gandhi statue which stands outside Parliament, in New Delhi.

Artists said that Jagadish, is not a well-known sculptor. They said experts should select the artist and not the government.

The Legislative Council is funding the project, which, according to Jagadish, may cost up to Rs one crore. Jagadish is Chairman Shankaramurthy’s choice for the project.

The meeting held at Vidhana Soudha was attended by Law Minister Suresh Kumar, Leader of Opposition in the Council S R Patil, Congress MLC Veeranna Mathikatti and Shankarmurthy. A committee headed by Shettar had recently cleared the project.

S R Patil told Deccan Herald that a request was made to Shankaramurthy to maintain total transparency in the execution of the project. The Shilpakala Academy’s approval is essential while evaluating the design proposed by the artist, he said.

“We would like to see a beautiful statue of the Gandhi. Public money is going to be spent. So we need to be careful,” he said.

Shankaramurthy ruled out creating an experts’ panel to select an artist for the work. He said, “A committee headed by the chief minister has already approved the selection of the artist. Jagadish will first prepare a clay model of the Gandhi statue.

If it is acceptable to the Shilpakala Academy, then  alone we will proceed with the project.” He said even the Council would like to have a beautiful statue of Gandhi. Hence, there would be no compromise, he added.