Sudarshan Sahoo, a well-known sculptor from Odisha, was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of the country by President Ram Nath Kovind for his contribution to the field of art at a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on November 9.
Sudarshan, 82, who has earlier been honoured with Padma Shri and Dharmapada awards, was one of the seven awardees to be conferred with the prestigious honour which were announced on January 26, 2021 at India’s 72 Republic Day celebrations, along with 10 Padma Bhushan and 102 Padma Shri.
The Padma Awards, which recognise achievements in all fields of public service, are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, that is constituted by the prime minister every year.
Besides him, the other awardees from Odisha include: Shanti Devi, Purnamasi Jani, Rajat Kumar Kar, Krishna Mohan Pathi, and Nanda Prusty, all of whom were awarded the the Padma Shri.
Know more about the master sculptor here
The sculptor, who has nearly 70 years of experience, was born in Odisha’s Puri in 1939. Coming from a culturally rich city, he was naturally inclined towards the art of sculpture. It is said that at the tender age of 13, he got an opportunity to train under stalwarts like Late Guru Bhubaneswar Mohapatra and Late Guru Kunia Moharana of Puri.
He created beautiful carvings of the Jataka Tales at the Dhauli Peace Pagoda in 1971 which earned him worldwide recognition and appreciation.
His works, including a sculpted panel, was installed in 1978 in Atami, Japan. Additionally, a stone panel based around the life of Buddha was installed in Milton Keynes, London, in 1980.
In 1977, he set up Sudarshan Crafts Museum in Puri for artists to display their work in a streamlined space. He also established a Gurukul in 1991, the Sudarshan Art and Crafts village, in Bhubaneswar, to train other artists.
The Sudarshan Crafts Museum, a project supported by the Government of Odisha, along with Sudarshan Arts and Crafts Village aim at preserving the traditional craft of sculpting in Odisha and training future craftsmen in creating sculptures with wood, stone and fiberglass. The institution provides its craftsmen with all the facilities, including a free of cost boarding facility.
Sudarshan is also a recipient of the National Award for Stone Carving (1981). Seven years later, in 1988, he was awarded the Padma Shri and, in 2003, the Shilp Guru Award.