Sudarsan Pattnaik has chosen sand art as a medium to create social awareness amongst people on global issues such as World Peace, Threatened Wild Life species (Olive Ridley Turtles), Terrorism, HIV-AIDS, Global Warming, etc. His work has been extensively covered by National and International Media such as, among the others, BBC, CNN, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic.
A conversation with Sudarsan Pattnaik about his work (March 2013)
Conversation transcription below
TC: Can you introduce yourself and your work? Why are you mainly using sand to create your sculptures?
SP: I started sand sculpture when I was 7 to 8 years old because where I live, my house, is very near to the sea. At that time my family had some financial problems. I was always wishing to be able to draw something but everything was expensive for me, pencils, paper, and colors. Since I was always going to the beach, I thought maybe I could do something in sand without spending money. At that time it was very difficult to get even a single rupee for me. My family was struggling, my grandmother was earning only 5 dollars a month and we were 5 people that had to survive on that. Then I started these sand sculptures. I wanted to develop this art form. I was wondering, how could that be possible to use this art form to communicate with people? I thought to choose topics related to the people. Thus I started to cover current topics and issues with my sculptures some social issues like climate change, like HIV disease. Tsunami and many more things such as the issue of the respect of women. When I made the Tsunami sculpture at Puri Beach, it was the time when so many people died on the same beach and in different part of our country because of the Tsunami. I though how, as an artist, can I do something to give support after this tragedy? As an artist I can only do my art and that’s when I made Help the Tsunami Victims. Then I started to work on this topic, and I tried to give it global exposure. I have participated in so many international sand sculptures championships, and when I represent India in the world championships I always cover this topic and other social issues. Last year I received an honorary doctorate from the Berhampur University for my social awareness sculptures. I have started a school here where we have more than 50 students. Every day they come to the beach and we make the beach our canvas without any big investment.
TC: How long do the sand works last
SP: Sand sculptures are temporary art forms, very natural art forms. When we are doing current topical issues sculptures, they last very short time, maximum 2 or 3 days. When we are doing huge sculptures such as the one with Santa Claus hey can last also 15, 30 days. Their lifespan depends also on the climate and on the organizing way. If we are making the sculpture near to sea as the current topical issues, they only last for a short time. But when we are participating in international championships and competitions around the world, we make works that can stay even 3 months. Two years ago our government started the international sand art festival in Orissa also. We are happy because Sand art is a very unique and very different art form.
TC: I have seen that you have done some work about women.
SP: When I have heard the news in the past few months about our country having a lot of problems with the girls, I tried to give proper justice to the woman. I have done a lot of sculpture in Puri beaches about these issues to increase awareness to the people.
When I started to make sand sculptures here I also started a school. Then I thought why girls cannot come to the beaches and make sculptures? At the time it was very difficult because usually parents did not allow girls to go to the beaches and do something there with sand. Then I tried to convince some of the parents, and I asked them, please send your girls, they can do very nice sculptures. Now there are always lots of girls doing beautiful sand sculptures in our beaches.
More info on Sudarsan Pattnaik Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/sudarsan.sandart?fref=ts
All published images have been kindly provided by Sudarsan Pattnaik.
Sudarsan Pattnaik’s International Awards and Achievements
DENMARK: Won Public prize at Copenhagen International sand sculpture championship 2012.
SPAIN: Won double gold medal at Solo International sand art contest in Mervala 2012. One for the people choice and another for most positive sculpture.
DENMARK: Won 1st prize at Copenhagen International sand sculpture championship, 2012
MOSCOW: Gold medal for people’s choice at 3rd Moscow World sand sculpture championship, 2011.
USA: Won three medals in North American solo sand sculpture championship 2010
CANADA: People’s choice prize at CNE International sand sculpture championship 2010
BERLIN: 1st place in people’s choice at 8th International Berlin sand sculpture championship 2010(THIS IS THE 5Th TIME WINNING PEOPLE”S CHOICE PRIZE).
RUSSIA: People choice prize at 2nd Moscow World sand sculpture championship, 2010.
BERLIN: People choice prize at 2nd USF World championship 2009, Berlin, Germany.
SOUTH KOREA: Korea sand sculptor award 2009 at 4th Haeundae Sand Festival at BUSAN.
MOSCOW: Special Prize at World sand sculpture championship 2009, by Russia Government.
JAPAN: Participated in World sand art festival
BERLIN: 1st Prize at USF World championship 2008, Berlin, Germany and got the title of World champion.
MOSCOW: People’s choice prize at 1st International sand sculpture festival 2008 Moscow, Russia.
JAPAN: Represented India in Tottori sand museum 2008.
RUHR: Audience Prize at 1st International sand sculpture festival 2007Ruhr, Germany.
BERLIN: Public prize at 5th Berlin International sand sculpture/Festival 2007.
TURKEY: Represented India at 1st Istanbul International sand sculpture festival2007.
MALAYASIA: Representing India in 1st International sand sculpture festival2007, Malayasia.
UAE: Demonstrating sand sculpture at International student’s conference 2007 Abu Dhabi.
JAPAN: Represented India at 34th Sapporo snow sculpture festival 2007.
DOHA: Demonstrating on 15th Asian Game 2006, Doha, Qatar.
CANADA: Representing India on tournament of World championship of sand sculpture 2006.
GERMANY: 1st Prize at 3rd Berlin International Sand Sculpture Competition 2005.
USA: Participated in Houston international Festival-2005 at Houston Texas. TAJ MAHAL recreated in sand.
AUSTRALIA: Participated at Sand Sculpting Australia 2004 at Melbourne.
GERMANY: Public Prize at 2nd Berlin Sand Station Competition 2004.
GERMANY: Participated at Sand World Festival at Travemunda at Germany 2003-04.
UAE: Sand Sculpture Demonstration at Muscat Festival 2004 at Oman.
CHINA: 4th Prize at China International Sand Sculpture Competition 2003.
GERMANY: 3rd Prize at Berlin International Sand Sculpture Championship at Germany 2003.
SPAIN: 2nd Prize in International Sand Sculpture Championship at Valadoli, Spain 2003.
CHINA: The 3rd Luilang Colour Sand Festival Demonstration prize at China 2003
CHINA: The 1st China Ningxia Sand Lake International Sand Sculpture Event- 2002, Aug 3 to 10, 2002.
NETHERLANDS: The Dutch Sand Sculpture Festival Thorn 2002-2003 at Holland in July.
BELGIUM: Sand Sculpture Festival Blankenberge 2002. at Belgium in June’2002.
JAPAN: Champion Medal in “29th International Snow Statue Contest – 2002” at Sapporo, Japan.
NETHERLANDS: Singles International Sand Sculpting Competition at Scheveningen, 6th May 2001 & 6th May 2002.
ITALY: 3rd Prize in World’s Master Sand Sculpture’s Championship 2001 on 16th July 2001 at Italy.
DENMARK: International Sand’s Sculpture’s Festival 2001 Blokhus on 25th June 2001.
SINGAPORE: Participated in SANTOSA SANDSTATION 2001 3rd June “SPLENDOURS OF GOLDEN ASIA” at Singapore.
UNITED KINGDOM: International Sand Sculpturing Festival 2000 at Glasgow.
CHINA: International Sand Sculpturing Championship 2000 at China.
FRANCE: World Sand Sculpturing Championship at France 2000.
UNITED KINGDOM: Exhibited during the World Cup Cricket’99 held at Edgbaston, United Kingdom during May-June’99.
UNITED KINGDOM: Exhibited during the World Travel Market held at Earls Court, LONDON in November 1998 with support of Govt. Of India Tourist Office, London.
*The Competitions/Festivals stated above indicates Pattnaik’s participation on behalf of his country as well as recipient of several awards/honours.