Shell art now popular thanks to Puri craftsman
The carving of ‘Dasa Mahavidya’ in shells is a masterpiece of skilled craftsman Raghunath Mohapatra.
The artistic environment of Puri is very conducive to sea shell and river shell art as the traditional artists mingle craft working techniques of various regions to make artistic shell items.
Mohapatra has developed varieties of shell items. Interesting subjects from the Indian mythology are delicately carved on giant size shell surface. The craftsmen first drag the shells in the sun for cleaning the shells. They immerse them in boiled water mixed with hydrochloric acid. Skilled artist then etch subjects like ‘Krishna Lila’ , ‘Ananta Sayan’ , ‘Boita Bandana’ , ‘Dasa Avatara’, ‘Dasa Mahavidya’ and subjects from the puranas .The artists paint this engraved portion with enamel (colour) .
Creative artist assemble small pieces of shell to make large size chariots, elephants and horses and also ornaments made up of shell have a growing market in big cities. Buyers from big mentors collect large quantities of shell work from Puri. Mohapatra has imparted training to scores of students over the years .He has received many awards at the State and national level .He creates magical work of art and craft by using these shells.
Being the creator of this craft in the State of Odisha, he richly deserves a Padma award for this year, feel many.