Guntur: The lockdown has pushed the already-struggling Durgi sculptors deeper into trouble. The art itself is dying a slow death as sculptors have had no work for the past two months.
With the markets closed, there are no buyers even for those few crafts readied before the announcement of the lockdown.
The stone craft of Durgi village in Guntur district is a rare heritage art form.
“Owing to poor revenue, many artisans have switched to daily-wage labour. We are continuing in the profession due to our unending bond and love for the stone,” said Peddoju Bhavani of Durgi village. “It takes at least one week to 10 days to ready a craft depending on its design. And it is painful when we fail to find buyers for our work,” said another sculptor of the village.
A social activist NV Sarathchandra noted that while the sculptors were already struggling to manage their livelihood, the Covid-19 pandemic has put the last nail in the coffin. “Sculptors are no longer keen on encouraging their children to take up the profession in view of the poor patronage from the public,” said Sarathchandra.
The craftsmen of Durgi stone art believe that they have inherited the treasure from their ancestors who since centuries have been involved in temple architecture of Nagara type in north India and Dravidian style in south India. “We need urgent intervention from the government for our survival as well our art. It should not be a big issue for the government as only a few dozens of people are still in the profession,” said G Pavan Kumar of Obulesunipalle near Macherla.
Interestingly, Kumar is a graduate in pharmacy and is continuing his father’s work out of his passion for the craft. “We have readied many idols for the temples. We are forgotten once the vigraha pratishta (installation of deity) is over,” rued Peddoju Nageswara Rao, a renowned artisan who was involved in readying the famous Buddha statue of Tank Bund in Hyderabad.
In the meantime, Durgi sculptors, who gave life to temples and chief deities, are praying to the gods for help.