Humility, hard work, discipline, and focus are something that makes dreams achievable. This is exactly what this 93-year-old man is following since his childhood, which makes him unmatched and superlative in the field of sculpting. Recipient of Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2016, he has also received the Tagore Award in October 2018.
Sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar, who made headlines for sculpting of 182-meter (600 foot) bronze Statue of Unity, only a few are aware of the fact that he has also created over 200 monumental sculptures.
There is mixed media coverage regarding the amount spent to create the world’s tallest statue (a tribute to the Iron Man of India – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel) near Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat.
Here are 15 lesser-known facts about the man who is no less than a living legend-
- Ram Vanji Sutar was born to Vanji Hansraj Sutar (father) and Sitabai (mother) on Feb 19, 1925, in Gondur Village, Dhule district, Maharashtra.
- His father was a carpenter who helped him to learn the nuances of sculpting from a very young age. Focus and hard work is something which he has inherited from his parents.
- At the age of 35, he built a 40-feet high statue of Chambala on Gandhi Sagar dam in Madhya Pradesh, who is believed to be the Goddess of Chambal river, in 1.5 years, using cement and stone. This was inaugurated by then prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Impressed by his work, Nehru commissioned him to make a 50-foot bronze monument to mark the craftsmanship of workers who constructed the Bhakra Dam. Installed on January 26, 1959, the Triumph of Labour statue still remains a focal point on International Workers’ Day celebrations in India on May 1, every year.
- After scoring a diploma from Mumbai’s JJ School of Art in 1952, he worked with the Archaeological Survey of India on a restoration project at the Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra. Worked in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting department as a Technical assistant as well. Soon he realized he doesn’t have enough time to hone his skills.
- His commitment and love for sculpting are such that he left a government job to continue sculpting. His studio Anandvan is located in Faridabad, where the surrounding looks like more of a museum because of his sculptors installed amid greenery and hills.
- He himself comes from an underprivileged background and therefore, he has immense compassion for the workers. Many statues sculpted by him were inspired by the life of workers and laborers.
- While making statues- be it a common man or eminent personalities- he studies their behavior and reaction to situations and it is because of this all his sculptures reflect the nature of the person, even when it is carved out of clay and stone.
- Member of Lalit Kala Akademi, Akhil Bhartiya Murtikar Forum, at the age of 93, he still spends 12-14 hours sculpting every day. He is also associated with NGOs and cultural organizations.
- Maximum statues present in the Parliament today are designed by him. He has always aspired to make something majestic and more than life-size statues.
- He has created statues of many great men, politicians and other eminent personalities like- Ranjit Singh, Mahatma Gandhi, Jyotirao Phule, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Govind Ballabh Pant, Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Rafi Ahmed Ridwai , Babu Jagjivan Ram, Dr B R Ambedkar, Vallabhbhai Patel, Indira Gandhi and many more.
- Apart from India, his works are installed in France Italy, Argentina, England, America, Brazil, Canada, and Japan.
- After the Statue of Unity, Sutar is ready for his next project – a giant Chhatrapati Shivaji Memorial Statue in Mumbai, more than 400 feet high.
- Sutar is very much inspired by life and works of Mahatma Gandhi, who he believes to be an inseparable part of his life. He dreams to make the perfect statue of Gandhi someday to spread the message of peace and love across the globe.
- All his life he has sculpted statues completely out of love and has never asked for publicity.
His work is a milestone in the world of Indian culture. While we get mesmerized by his works and only able to appreciate it, only future will know the true price of this legendary artist.