Showing his mettle with scrap metal


Showing his mettle with scrap metal

Artist Ravi Chandra Katuri visits the most unusual place to get his art material — Maya Bazar in Guntur, where he looks for waste automobile scrap, iron washers, iron link chain nuts, bolts, metal wires etc.

Back in his studio in Tenali, he conceives, welds, twists and executes the most exquisite of sculptures. 

Tenali in Guntur district has produced many famous poets, theatre artistes, scholars, actors, scientists and academicians, including Tenali Ramakrishna, the poet and jester in Krishnadeva Raya’s court. 

Ravi Chandra continues the artistic tradition of Tenali and his ancestors, who were originally into temple construction. He belongs to the seventh generation sculptors who made bronze sculptures for temples. His father Katuri Venkateswara Rao is a self-taught sculptor who also designs temples.

Besides learning from traditional heritage, Ravi Chandra has formal qualification in art — a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Government College of Art and Craft, Calcutta University, specialising in sculpture. He also has a Governor’s award and a gold medal to his credit.

In his endeavour to do something different from what his forefathers had done, he hit upon the idea of creating sculptures from scrap. 

“Depending on the size and complexity of the sculpture, it takes anything from two to six months to complete a sculpture. Once the sculpture is completed, it gets a coat of red oxide, topped with a silver coat and a Rexine finish,” explains Ravi Chandra. He is assisted by a group of 15 people in his studio.

His life-size scrap metal sculptures include animals like lion, horse, camel, elephant, cheetah, duck and scorpion. His human figures include Mahatma Gandhi on his charaka, a farmer with a pair of bulls, a robot, a sari-clad woman and a man holding a cup.He had his first solo show in Hyderabad in 2012 and his second show in Bangalore recently, besides several group shows in places like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.

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