Age no deterrent to pursue passion for this artist

Age has not deterred Damodar Shenoy, aged 78 years, from making Ganesha idols in Mangaluru.

He is engaged in making Ganesha idols at a lane near Venkataramana Temple on Car Street for the past 57 years.

When asked how did he develop the penchant for making idols, he said he was attracted by the concept of Ganesha. “I love Lord Ganesha. As a result, I used to prepare Ganesha idols using clay beneath the desk while studying in school. I was punished by my teachers on several occasions for this,” he remembered.

Shenoy is suffering from knee pain for the last two years. But it is not coming in the way of his passion.

He said that he starts preparing the idols five months prior to Ganesha Chaturthi. He is making medium to small size Ganesha idols. “I use only clay for the idols. When artists started using Plaster of Paris for preparing idols, I did not follow them. It is difficult to source clay. But I source clay from a factory at Bolar,” he said.

Shenoy said that he does not use moulds or iron rods to prepare the idols. Instead, he kneads the clay and gives shape in his hand.

Shenoy said he gives prominence to eyes, ears, hands and other minute details on the idol. It takes at least four to five days to complete the preparation of an idol.

He said “I did not learn the art from any Guru. Lord Ganesha is my Guru and my passion for the idol increases with each passing year.” 

“My children did not learn the art. But my grandson Varun (14) from Kasargod has learn the art from me. He has started making idols. I reach my shop at 10.30 am from my house at Mannagudde and prepare the idols till 8 pm. Some customers do not want the painted idols,” he said.

“This year, I have prepared 30 to 40 small idols. I do not demand money from my customers. I take whatever amount they give,” he added.

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