Terracotta–an ancient art still in demand
CLAY is one of the earliest media used by man to express himself. The art of handling clay is one of the earliest skills known to our ancestors. The origin of this art form can be traced way back to the Neolithic age, when lumps of clay were hard moulded to construct toys and deities.
Terracotta objects are made by hand. The potters create the basic form by throwing separate pieces on the wheel and joining them .The finished work is a fine piece of art. Terracotta art has always been in demand. Although terracotta work is not so famous in the silver city, Mandaradhara Rana, an artisan of Nuagaon at Malipada in Bhubaneswar is well known for his artistic skills, said Chandra Sekhar Behera, Vice president of Akhila Bharat (Prajapati) Kumbhaar Mahasangha, Cuttack.
Another terracotta artesan–Mukunda Rana of village Kunibahal of Subarnapur has participated in several skill development programmes, workshops and national level exhibitions, stated Behera, adding that Rana was honored with the State award by State Council of Artistic Research and Training, Government of Odisha in 2009.
Manbodha Rana– a terracotta artist from Sambalpur district was awarded by the Government of India with a certificate of honour and also felicitated by Orissa Gana Parishad in 2001.
Behera said that terracotta art is practised mainly in the Western parts of States including Sonepur, Barpali, Keonjhar, Boudh, Bargarh and Mayurbhanj.
He added that in Cuttack the major demand is of oriental work depicting gods and goddesses during festive seasons.
However, he lamented that the State government is not taking any initiative to encourage the artistes, both socially and economically.
“We had approached the cottage industry of the State as well the Chief Minister three years back, but no initiative has been taken yet”, said Behera.
He said that denizens of Cuttack do not have much access to terracotta work as compared to Bhubaneswar as several workshops and exhibitions are held in the capital city.