Puri , Odisha Give him sand and master artist Sudarshan Patnaik can build you virtually anything. And now, his dream of taking the art form to art enthusiasts with an online course will soon become a reality with the support of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the HRD ministry.
Announced almost a year back , Patnaiks’s ambitious project ,scheduled for launch in March 2018, will be world’s first certificate course in sand art. “ It has been decided that the course will begin before March 31, 2018. We have already started work on it and video lectures have been prepared. “It has to be fine-tuned as per MOOC’S (massive open online courses) norms,” Shrikant Mohapatra, senior regional director of IGNOU’s Bhubaneswar centre, told the PTI. Patnaik said he wanted India to become the first country across the globe to offer such training to sand artists, who, he noted, “were growing in number”.
“I want to give a platform to upcoming sand artists. I have submitted the course design and syllabus and now will fine tune this. I had been waiting for their response for over a year and now they have given me assurance that the course will begin in March 2018,” he told PTI. As a step forward, Uma Kanjilal of IGNOU visited Bhubaneshwar recently and finalised the modalities with Pattnaik. The artist, who already has an open air Golden Sand Art Institute at Puri beach imparting professional training in sand art, believes a digitised course will help students hone their skills by following instructional videos. “Sand art is essentially a practical art and the more you practice, the more you learn. “The videos will have all the details and step-by-step procedure of making sculptures in sand,” he said. According to him, several “brilliant” sand artists lag behind due to the absence of the required academic background. “This course will be very fruitful for them,” the Padma Shri award-winning sculptor said.
However, the artist insists it is important that the initiative be taken by a government institute like IGNOU to have a larger impact. “I have many offers from private universities but I wanted to start with IGNOU, because it will have a wider reach,” he said. He added that many of his overseas friends were also keen on taking the initiative forward in their respective countries.