GUWAHATI, Oct 4 - In the eye of the storm following its act of painting the Ramkinkar Baij-shaped Mahatma Gandhi statue atop the Sarania hillock here with silver colour, the Kamrup Metro district administration today said that the original colour would be restored to the statue.
The administration has faced severe criticism from several quarters over its decision to apply a silvery coat on the statue that is around 50 years old. Members of the art fraternity, in particular, have described the act as an ill-advised one and demanded restoration of its original colour.
Reacting to this development, eminent poet Nilamani Phukan, who is also a well-known connoisseur of art, lamented that nowadays the district authorities tend to act whimsically. The statue was created by none other than Ramkinkar Baij, the pioneer of modern sculpture in India. Putting a coat of enamel paint on the statue amounts to an insult to the legendary sculptor, Phukan said.
Bronze has its own colour, and this colour should be restored to the statue, said the noted poet.
Principal of the Government College of Art and Craft and art historian Jabeen Ghosh Dastidar said that the people of Assam should be proud of the fact that a sculptor of the stature of Ramkinkar Baij had given them such a statue of the Mahatma.
The debris sculpted below the feet of the statue is symbolic and the statue itself should be viewed as a product of conceptual art, not a realistic piece of art work. In an exceedingly symbolic manner, it represents the very essence of the Gandhian ideals, she said.
The colour now applied to the statue should be removed immediately and its original colour be restored. �We have several experts who can help in restoring the original colour of the statue. To accomplish this, we may take recourse to the patina and buffing process,� she said.
Senior teacher of sculpture in the Government College of Art and Craft here, Krishna Goswami said that bronze statues lose their identity once they are robbed of their original colour. The colour of bronze has its own beauty and it should be restored to the statue, he said.
Noted graphic artist and a former teacher in the Government College of Art and Craft Dilip Tamuly also said he was shocked to learn that the Mahatma statue, which is one of the outstanding creations of Ramkinkar Baij in bronze, has been painted with silver colour. Before going ahead to paint this famous statue in such a way, the authorities should have consulted experts in the field, who would have been able to guide the authorities in the maintenance and conservation of this work of art, said Tamuly.
Tridib Dutta, secretary of the Jorhat-based creative artists' organisation Ongkar, described the act as an unethical one. This has damaged the aesthetic value of the art work created by none other than Baij. To keep its artistic worth intact, the original colour of the sculpture should be restored to it, he said.