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Pravakar Maharana - A Master Sculptor

Write By: admin Published In: Artists & Craftsmen Created Date: 2016-06-19 Hits: 1902 Comment: 0

Sri Pravakar Maharana, National Awardee in Stone Carving, is a person with determination, uninterrupted hunt for creativity and innovation, whose smiling and sober behavior touches every one, who relentlessly strives for excellence in stone sculpture.



Early life


Shri Moharana was born into an artisan family in a village near the famous Surya Temple of Konark in 1960. He had his schooling and childhood days in the village and had inclination towards drawings and paintings that tempted him to visit different temples in Konark, Bhubaneswar and Puri to draw sketches of different art forms from sculptures and paintings. He has spent days and nights in temples and there have been instances where temple authorities have thrown him out. 


Professional life


Seeing the inherent artistic potential of his son, his father the Late Sri Sadhu Charan Maharana, an artist in wood carving put him at the “State Handicrafts Training Centre” in Bhubaneswar to receive training in stone sculpture in the year 1975. What he is today is due to the blessings of his father and his Guru Late Sri Satyabadi Moharana, National Awardee. His professional life started with practicing and perfecting the skills under his Guru Sri Lal Mohan Moharana. In 1997 he started his own production unit in Bhubaneswar and his network of markets and artisans expanded quickly.


Sri Moharana as  a Silpi Guru – Showing the path for employment


From the very beginning he has provided opportunity to needy boys who come from remote villages to work with him. Till date 150 of such boys have been trained by him. In addition he also had the opportunity to train 90 potential needy boys under different training programmes including SHTP and Guru Sisya Parampara of Development Commissioner (Handicraft) Govt. of India since 1988. It is noteworthy to mention here that the first SHTP was inaugurated by Sri Kalyan Dey, Ex- Regional Director (DCH) at village Sujanagar, Puri which is the native village of Sri Moharana. The Govt. of Odisha has also given him an opportunity to train 15 needy Sisyas – disciples under the Guru Sisya Parmpara scheme during 2011-12. Starting from a small makeshift work shed cum residence both Guru and Sisyas have lived together. Beloved Guru was all along with them through chisel works and kitchens, all dining together, sharing sorrows and sufferings, joys and happiness, challenges and opportunities. Who could know that forest Jasmines are scattered there - whose fragrance no one could smell!, It gives much solace to him as all of them are now employed and flowering thousands of budding artisans of tomorrow who could preserve and promote the pristine glory of stone art of Odisha. As of today there are many of his students who are working in Akshyaradham Temple in New Delhi. His continuous thirst for newness in the craft continues and shall go a long way till he breaths his last to produce many more needy Sisyas to carry forward his work styles to eke out their livelihood. For all his students he has built a museum cum sales counter at his work place where he is providing opportunity to his Sisyas to display and sell their creative monumental works. In 1997 when the Mater Creation programme of Delhi Haat was started by DC(H), Sri Moharana has been able to participate in the programme five times to demonstrate the works of his students and sale the products produced by them. He has started Pravakar Creative Art Gallery at Nagar Bazar in Kolkata where the works of his students are sold. In addition to this, he supplies the stone crafts produced by his students to CCIC in Delhi so as to provide marketing opportunity and regular income to the trained students. Every year on the occasion of Guru Diwas, All students visit the Guru at his workshop cum residence and celebrate the occasion by honouring the Guru. This has up held the Guru Sisya parampara to strengthen soldierly and the bondage of relationship between Guru & Sisya.   


Awards & Accolades


As a Master Crafts Person, Sri Maharana excelled quickly in his profession.   He was conferred with State Award in 1987 for his outstanding piece of work in stone Carving on “Surya Narayan of Konark Temple”. He was bestowed with the prestigious National Award on Stone Sculpture in 1992 for his magnificent craftsmanship in Stone Sculpture based on the concept of “Kandarpa Hasti” (Kandarpa Elephant imbibed from Mathura Vijaya) . He was conferred with prestigious national honor of “Chinta “O” Chetana” in the year 2012 in recognition and appreciation of his craftsmanship skills.


Representation in International Forums


Sri Maharana has brought pride and accolades for the country and state by representing the traditional stone sculpture art of Odisha in many international forums. On the eve of 50 years independence celebration of India, he visited Brazil in South America in the year 1997 and demonstrated the exquisite artistic skills of Stone Sculpture of Odisha. He has significantly contributed to the promotion of traditional stone crafts of Odisha in countries such as Australlia (Perth) in 1998 & 2000, Malaysia & Singapore in 2003, France (Paris) in 2007, Italy (Milan) in 2007 & 2009, South Africa (Zimbabwe) in 2013. He has demonstrated the craftsmanship skills and enriched the cultural glory of the country under the sponsorship of Ministry of Textile, Government of India, (Development Commissioner, (Handicrafts) and Temple of Fine Arts International, Coimbatore, India.


He has not only promoted the name and fame of the country but also earned foreign currency by displaying and selling stone sculptures of Odisha in international markets. His unique way of displaying his body posture to show the different stone statutes earned him “Best Artist award from Temple of Fine Arts” in Malaysia. Under the leadership of Buddha Guru Sri Dalai Lama he has established many stone crafted Buddha Statues in Bhutan, Himachal Pradesh, Japan, Tibet and Taiwan that has brought him appreciation from many art lovers and Buddhists. His stone craft includes a charm and originality of its own and pristine beauty that remains untouched by time. His work has been highly appreciated by former President of India Honorable Sankardayal Sharma, Former Prime Ministers Honorable Chandra Sekhar and Honorable P.V. Narasimha Rao. His craftsmanship skills and works have been highlighted by different newspapers & Television in India and abroad. He has been honored by the Supreme Court of Bhutan for installation of Buddha Statues in the Court.




Contribution to construction of Temples

Under his direction “Sati Mata Temple” in Surat, Gujrat and “Jagannath Temple” in Nigeria are being constructed. Presently an 8’ long Abalokeswara Statue is now ready to be dispatched to Vietnam. Work of 18’ long Buddha statue has already started for Taiwan.


Shri Maharana’s works are distinct, unique and could be recognized by well-known artists in different places.  At the age of fifty six he works hard and sees that every piece of work is qualitatively good and different from others. He has long way to achieve his dreams of promoting the traditional stone sculpture of Odisha both in India and abroad. He deserves awards and accolades from different authorities towards recognition and appreciation of his wonderful craftsmanship skills. His one and only wish is to revive the languishing Konark Kala (art form) – let the craft survive, more and more artisans come to the occupation and earn a their livelihood to lead a dignified life. 


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