Karnataka is dependent on the sculptors of Tamil Nadu to carry out the renovation of old temples managed by Muzrai and Archeology department. This is not because there is dearth of skilled sculptors in the state but due to a condition that the tenderer should have undergone a course in temple architecture.
Despite there being many skilled sculptors in State, they are not able to get the opportunity to work, because of this norm. Though the temple architecture course has been started by a Sampradayika Shilpa Gurukulagala Kendra, three years ago, it takes atleast of 8-10 years, for the passed out candidates to take part in tender process, as seniority and experience counts.
The sculptors from Tamil Nadu bid the majority of the tender. With lack of knowledge of estimation, assessment, our sculptors wont get opportunity to take part in the tender process. Its estimated an approximate of more than Rs 150 crores tenders is being grabbed by them every year.
Though the neighbouring state sculptors bag the tenders, they depend on local sculptors for the works. They only do the sketch and make estimate. A family of 30-40 sculptors, native of Tamil Nadu, who have migrated to Bengaluru do most of the temple works in State, say sources in the Muzrai and Archeology department. They also added, the temple assessment, estimation is not easy, and thus the knowledge persons will be asked to participate in tender process.
Sculptor Arun Yogiraj said that 90 per cent of the temple repair works, planning for new construction of temple, heritage conservation of works are being taken up by sculptors from Tamil Nadu. This trend should change, as there are several skilled labours in State. He says the condition that they should have done a course in temple architecture should go.
“Its high time government should address the woes of sculptors. Compare to sculptors in State, they are not good in stone carvings, and hire the local sculptors for work. New decisions of government will help the local artisans to become economically stronger and get recognition world wide,” he adds.
Former Shilpakala Academy Chairman Dr G Jnanananda said that our sculptors lack knowledge in analysis and estimation, whereas by undergoing four years course they can enhance the knowledge. 'A new
revolution should come and our sculptors should also give tough competition for sculptors of other state and match them in quality, and giving finishing,' he adds.
Karnataka Shilpa Kala Academy Chairman Mahadevappa Shambulingappa
Shilpi said that there are very good sculptures in State, and have to be provided with skill development course. 'I hold meeting with Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree and chalkout programmes for the enhancement of skills,' he added.
There are nearly 1200 sculptures in State. Those who are skilled in cement and stone carving are preferred mainly for temple architect designs, he adds.
Sampradayika Shilpa Gurukulagala Kendra, affiliated to Bangalore University and approved by Government of Karnataka is the only institution in state imparting the Temple Architect Course. 33 students are undergoing course.
Sources said that there is plans to cut down grants for the Kendra, and the institution may stop enrollment for the course from next year. The sculptors say there is need to create awareness among artisans about the courses conducted, and government should take measures to ensure that the course is not discontinued.