Tuna Behera – emerging sand artist of Odisha

By Pradeep Kumar

BALASORE, Nov 29: Tuna Behera is emerging as a prominent sand artist of Odisha toeing the legacy of Puri-based famous sand artist Sudarshan Pattanaik, who has won 60 international sand sculpture championships and festivals across the world and 27 Indian championships, to bag numerous awards for his unique, amazing and wonderful arts, including Padma Shri in 2014.

Pattanaik, who had broken the Guinness Book of World Record by making world’s largest sand castle in Puri beach, has also been offering training to artists through open air Sudarsan Sand Art Institute at Puri seashore since 1994.

Influenced by Pattanaik, Behera, a resident of Amarda Raod & class-VIII passed, adopted the art, and his hidden talent surfaces as in Balasore, he was the first artist to showcase sand art creations. Since 1999, he has been designing sand art of different forms on various occasions.

He and along with three others drew mass attention by creating 18-feet tall sculpture of Lord Jagannath and His siblings in front of Gandhi Smruti Bhavan here in 2013 to receive applause from the visitors.

“I am fascinated by Lord Jagannath and the Puri temple culture and have been creating sand sculptures of the chariots for the last many years. About 20 truckloads of sand were used to make the main sculpture,” he recalled.

“His imagination and work are praiseworthy,” noted poet Shrideb said, adding that he has won award in many competitions including Damundi and selected alone to take part in next International Sand Art Festival Festival, scheduled from 1st to 5th December, 2021 on Chandrabhaga beach, Konark, Puri, about one km from World heritage site Konark, as part of Konark Dance Festival.

Odisha instituted this annual Festival in 2015 on Chandrabhaga beach with theme hovering around burgeoning issues of the Earth. Large number of Indian and foreign artists have been taking part in it.

Sand art is the practice of modelling sand into an artistic form, such as a sand brushing, sand sculpture, sand painting or sand bottles, sandcastle (a type of sand sculpture resembling a miniature building, often a castle); drip castle variation uses wet sand that is dribbled down to form organic shapes before the sands dries.

From 1989 until 2009, a World Championship in Sand Sculpture was held in Harrison Hot Springs in Harrison, British Columbia, Canada, also known as “Harrisand”. The competition had solo, double and team categories. It was held in Ft. Myers, Florida and other venues for a limited time. Other countries hold their own versions of world championships as it is not possible to get all the people who may qualify in the same place at the same time due to the expense and logistics.

The world’s record for most simultaneous sand angels made at one time was done in Ludington, Michigan, on 10.06.17. It was created by 1,387 sand angel people at the same time. This is almost four times the previous record of 352 made in Pembrokeshire, Wales, on June 06.06.15. The duration they lasted making sand angels was for 30 seconds—twice as long as the 15 seconds at Pembrokeshire.

Since 2003, Bettystown beach, Meath in Ireland has been home to Irish annual National Sandcastle and Sand Sculpturing competition.

Sand festivals or festivals of sand sculpture are exhibitions of sculptures made of sand carried out in various places around the world. These events usually include a competition. Traditional sand sculptures are sandcastles. However, at sand festivals one may see virtually any kinds of sculptures you would expect to see in stone, bronze or wood.

The country known for this festival of sand art  are Australia (since 2008), Canada (2011), Germany (2005), Indonesia (2011), Japan (1987), Pakistan (2011), Russia (2002), United Kingdom (2005), United States (1980), Netherlands, Switzerland, Floriad, to name a few.

Portugal holds annual International Sand Sculpture Festival in Pera, Algarve since 2003 is conducted, the largest event in the world.

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