Basudevpur: Even though Kali Puja is over, the fair associated with it in this town of Bhadrak district is still continuing to attract a large number of visitors. Many stalls have been put up, but the one which gets maximum footfalls belongs to local sculptor, the 32-year-old Muktikanta Nayak. His stone sculptures of various gods, goddesses and decorations are doing brisk business.
Muktikanta said that he wanted to be a sculptor since childhood. “Ours was a poor family. Hence I could not pursue my educational dreams after my class 10 exams. I had plenty of free time. So I turned into a helper for sculptors at Baulagadia,” informed Muktikanta.
“After learning the basics of stone carving, like how to use hammer and chisel, how to select stones, I enrolled for a two-year training course at a government training centre at Gandamunda in Bhubaneswar. My dedication and love for art bore fruit and I passed out successfully,” added Muktikanta.
Since then success has not eluded him. He has visited states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and earned appreciation for his stone sculptures.
It has been a year since Muktikanta he returned to his own village Chintamanipur under Nilagiri police limits in Balasore district. He has set up his own shop opposite the girls’ high school in the town of Basudevpur.
Muktikanta informed that it takes him at least 10 days to carve out a statue. Chisels, hammers and a grinder are the equipment with which he transforms his imagination into reality. He generally gets stones from Khiching area in Mayurbhanj district and Rajasthan. His younger brother Diptikanta acts as his assistant.
Muktikanta’s family comprises his parents, two brothers, his wife and five-year-old daughter. He stated that he has never faced any financial problem since taking up sculpting.
“In Odisha, there is a huge demand of sculptures. If unemployed youths learn the art of carving, they can be self-reliant and it would solve to a great extent the problem of unemployment,” said Muktikanta.