Her deft hands craft exquisite eco-friendly Gauri, Ganeshas

Her deft hands craft exquisite eco-friendly Gauri, Ganeshas

Her deft hands craft exquisite eco-friendly Gauri, Ganeshas

For those who want to stay true to the spirit of Ganesha Chaturti, Bimba the Art Ashram provides an alternative, which is not just environment-friendly but also divinely beautiful.

Artist Deepika Dorai handpicks idols of Ganesha and Gauri made of clay and silt from potters on the outskirts of the city. She then paints life into these raw idols back in her workshop in Basavanagudi. 

The idols are available in various sizes, each with unique detailing. The elephant-headed deity can be found in various poses- sitting on a majestic throne, on a snake, on a lotus flower and many more. The jewellery, the detailing of the eyes, panche, peetha are unique to each idol. The same goes for the idols of Gauri, the mother of the universe who gave birth to the Lord. Deepika only uses colours which are soluble in water such as paints which are free of volatile organic compounds and, vegetable colours. A rich indigo is used to make the royal panche of Lord Ganesha. Combining different ingredients like lime and kumkum, she experiments with shades.

Deepika and her husband Deepak Dorai are doing this as an effort to support third-generation artisans who find it difficult to sustain themselves. “People say they want to go green but they are not willing to pay extra, buying plaster of paris idols instead of clay ones. Artisan have no choice but to spray paint idols and even pottery to make them viable,” Deepak Dorai said.

Each year, Deepika starts her preparation three months in advance, procuring about 150 idols. As Deepak put it, they are not interested in producing for commercial gain. They have a few dedicated customers who take idols every season and other curious people who walk in.

With deft hands and a keen eye for detail, Deepika can paint an idol from start to finish within four hours. But for her, there is more to the process. She waits for inspiration, for the idol to tell her what it wants to become. Half-painted idols may remain that way for months, even years. The spirit of the art is what matters,” said Deepika who finds satisfaction in being a part of the auspicious festivities of several families through her work.

Deepa Shankar, who booked a Ganesha idol for her home was in awe of Deepika’s work. “Besides being eco-friendly, the beauty of the idols is soulful and touching. I have no words to describe them.”

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