Odisha’s art from cow dung fascinates foreign artists and enthusiasts from across the world came to Raghurajpur to learn intricacies of crafts from veteran artisans.
Canadian artist Shirley Rimer is in awe of 78-year-old Sashimani Maharana. The foreigner, who is a ceramic artist, cannot stop praising the cow dung toys made by the septuagenarian.
To Shirley, making toy sculptures out of animal waste is a thrilling find and learning the process from one of the pioneers of the art form is an inviting prospect.
As many as 10 international artists, including Shirley, from across the world have gathered at the heritage village of Raghurajpur to work closely with the expert craftsmen of the heritage village.
“The entire process of making toys out of cow dung, from making the paste to sculpting the structures, is fascinating. The artists here are very committed and are adept at their art form,” said the artist.
Sashimani, who is among the last few living bearers of the art form in the state, is equally impressed with her foreign student.
“The artists are very enthusiastic and good learners. The programme will help to broaden the reach of our art form, which is on the verge of extinction in our country,” said the veteran artist.
Hosted by Raghurajpur International Art and Craft Exchange, the programme has given the artists a chance to learn the basics of these art and craft forms. During the five-week festival, the artists will learn crafts such as pattachitra, palm leaf carving, stone and woodcarving and making toys with cow dung from traditional craftsmen.