The story of struggle and hardwork behind Padma Shri sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik
- Sudarsan Pattnaik’s father left him when he was very young. Image source
Sudarsan Pattnaik was born in Puri, Odisha. His family (3 brothers, his mother and grandmother) survived on Rs 200 ($3) per month that his grandmother got as pension.
2. Sudarsan dropped out in class 6 because of his poor financial conditions.
He started working in the house of a Bengali family in the neighborhood as a servant from the age of 10 so that he can get food to eat.
3. Though he had interest in interest in art, he could not afford colors or pencils so he made the Puri beach his canvas and hands his pencils.
For next several years, everyday he came to the beach at 3 am and worked till 6 am, before going to work. He did not tell anyone of his work because he feared he will be blamed for damaging the beach or will be ridiculed. He used to come during lunch time to see the reaction of others. He felt happy when everyone appreciated it as he worked the whole day and no one appreciated but his art was appreciated on which he only spent few hours.
4. At around 18 years, he started his paan (betel) shop to support himself while continuing his art.
As the art got famous, Sudarsan Pattnaik was invited to London to show his art. He crowdfunded his air ticket to London. Initially he was refused visa because of his poor financial condition but he persisted and finally got the visa. While going to the airport, he was robbed of his visa and his important documents. He was so disheartened that he thought of committing suicide. Finally, he reapplied and got his visa. That was the start of his illustrious career.
5. He has won 27 competitions including gold in St Petersburg, Russia in International sand sculpture competition.
He also has made many world records including the largest sculpture of Santa which was 45 feet high and required 1000 tonnes of sand. He also has started a Sand Art Institute in Odisha. Sudarsan Pattnaik was awarded the fourth highest civilian award, Padma Shri by the Indian government.