Sunday, August 09, 2009

Artists of the World Unite

Artists of the world unite.
You have nothing to lose but your anonymity!

This is the call I would like to give to artists, especially sculptors.

The trigger for this post, even though I have had this complaint for a long time, is the unveiling the statue of Thiruvalluvar in Bangalore and the planned unveiling of the statue of Sarvajna. in Chennai. The names of the artists who sculpted the two statues are hardly ever mentioned anywhere. Surprisingly, to me at least, Times of India did mention one of them - Ms Vimala Acharya of Ilavala, near Mysore, who created the statue of Sarvajna. (The TOI news report called her an artisan and spelt the name of the place as Illvala. Why is she an artisan and not an artist and there is nothing ill about Ill_vala!). Deccan Herald wrote about Sri Mani Nagappa, who was afraid that he would not live to see the statue being unveiled.

There are literally millions of pieces of sculpture and not a single artist is known - from historical times to today. This, I feel, is a result of the feudalistic attitudes which remain even today. The "king" who funded the project is remembered and the sculptor, artist, architect who created remains forever anonymous.

So here is an open letter to Sudhakar Rao, IAS, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, in whose name the announcement of today's unveiling of the statue of Thiruvalluvar is made in the papers.

Dear Mr. Rao,

I would like to congratulate the Government of Karnataka on finally unveiling the statue of Thiruvalluvar. But here are some questions.

Was the sculptor, Sri Mani Nagappa invited to the function?

Was he paid for the trip, and also to some companion as the gentleman is 83 years old?

Was he on the dais and was he honoured?

I am sure there will be a plaque about the function somewhere on the pedestal of the statue or near it. Does the plaque carry the name of Sri Mani Nagappa as the sculptor of the statue?

Have you made sure that similar arrangements are made for Ms Vimala Acharya for the unveiling of the statue of Sarvajna, with the government of Tamil Nadu?

If the answers to any of these questions is no, will you make amends in any form?

With best regards,


I dream of a day when the artists get the recognition that is their due.

PS. I have no axe to grind - I myself am no artist.


  1. Anil, I think they meant - Vimala Acharya, (ಎಲ್ಲಿ? ಎಲ್ಲೂ) ಇಲ್ವಲ್ಲ!

  2. Pretty thoughtful! Never realised it before! Can't agree more with you!!!