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A blessing FOR A NAME



Personalised Ganesha by Bishnu Prasad Maharana

BISHNU PRASAD Maharana is an unusual artist. He comes from Orissa, has done a lot of research on tribal communities in that State, and knows as much as an anthropologist does, though he does not carry formal qualifications. Along with his anthropology, he cultivated the skill of an artist, and in course of time, produced a series of works on tribal cultures.

The work on the deity above is interesting for a very unconventional reason: it is made of the letters of a name, and whichever name is used to draw the deity, the person bearing the name, in accordance with tribal traditions, will receive the blessings of the deity.

The blessing is personalised and cannot be passed on to relatives, family, or friends. The work, titled, Script Ganesha, took Bishnu 40 hours to make.

Bishnu says that the tribal beliefs require that there be a separate puja room where the deity will have to be placed. The person who would like to receive the blessings would have to follow certain procedures that include breaking a coconut and adorning the deity with flowers. "This is sure to ensure that the devotee prayer's are answered," says Bishnu, outlining his understanding of religion in tribal cultures.

The work is rather artistic and has already found buyers in the city some of whom happen to be important people. Bishnu has sold some of his works in Delhi where he has been creating awareness on tribal religion and art. "In my experience, I found that their art is related to not only their everyday work, but the religious beliefs they hold. Their own paintings on the walls of their houses are exceptional. It is that work that I am bringing on to canvas and paper."

He believes it is important to bring to urban spaces art and culture tucked away in rural India most of which, he says, has not received its due. He himself is not out to make money, but certainly a livelihood.

Bishnu hopes to hold a small exhibition of his drawings and paintings as well as of his latest work on the deity. Those interested in his paintings and drawings can call him on 9845752516.

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