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Dream built of sand
(Top) File picture of a sand sculpture of Osama bin Laden created by Sudarshan Patnaik at the Puri beach. (Reuters)
The artist with the sand sculpture ‘Leonardo Smile’ that won him first place at World Sand Sculpture Championship in Moscow. Picture by Sarat Patra
Sudarshan Patnaik being felicitated in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, May 30: The story of Osama Bin Laden ‘concluded’ earlier this month and sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik captured the momentous incident in a sculpture that depicted an open book with Osama on the left hand page and ‘The End’ message on the right.

The picture of the sculpture created at Puri beach reached every corner of the world through international newspapers, magazines, blogs and social networking sites. Soon after, Patnaik won the third Moscow World Sand Sculpture Championship with an innovative sculpture — Leonardo Smile.

Moreover, last week, the artist was chosen as Nalco’s brand ambassador.

It appears that Patnaik is destined to achieve much more ahead as his dream of a sand sculpture museum recently received appreciation and positive response from the Union cabinet minister for culture and urban development Kumari Selja. The artist recently had a talk over the project with Selja in New Delhi following his felicitation by the minister.

“The year has been wonderful so far. While last year, it was my participation in the inaugural event at the Commonwealth Games, this year the bin Laden sculpture received worldwide appreciation. And now, the Moscow win has thrilled me. Moreover, an artist chosen as an ambassador of a corporate house is a first for the state,” said Patnaik, at a felicitation ceremony organised by the state culture department.

“Speaking to the minister of culture in New Delhi has also brought a lot of hope for me and the sand sculpture museum that has been my dream for years. Planning on the lines of the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, I suggested the minister to build a sand sculpture museum at the Pragati Maidan,” he said.

The museum would include sculptures of global celebrities and heritage sites of India so as to attract tourists, said Patnaik.

The minister assured him that she would recommend the proposal to the Union commerce minister Anand Sharma to facilitate such a museum at Pragati Maidan. Patnaik also gave the proposal to recently appointed state culture minister Prafulla Samal.

“He was also very enthusiastic about the plan. However, I have been approaching the culture department in this regard for the past few years and it has never proceeded beyond talks,” Patnaik said.

With not even a proper art gallery in the state, growth of any form of art was difficult here, said Patnaik.

“Art needs the government’s support to grow and the authorities must realise that art also enhances tourism prospects with its growth. However, I’m glad that I have been invited for a felicitation by the state government,” he said. President Pratibha Patil has also invited the sand artist for a felicitation for which he would fly to Delhi on Tuesday.

Explaining his concept behind Leonardo Smile that had won him the gold medal as well as the first place in the People’s Choice Award at Moscow, Patnaik said he had tried to illustrate in his sculpture the smile of Leonardo Da Vinci that led to the famous Monalisa Smile.

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