With life-size statues, this farmer carves a niche for himself

Bathinda, Punjab: Consistent efforts to make life-size statues using fibre glass sheets helped him in carving out a secure niche for himself in Punjab.

Showcasing a pair of bullocks at Prof Mohan Singh Mela at the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Ground, 42-year-old Manjit Singh Gill of Ghalkalan village in Moga district doesn’t remember when he started making life-size statues.

Viewing his efforts towards the art, the Punjab Government offered him the job of a class I officer as art executive-cum-nodal officer, Department of Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Museum in Chandigarh.

Visitors at the mela failed to move ahead without getting a glimpse of the showpieces put on display by the artist.

“Though I learnt about the professional approach towards the art after completing the four years degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts from GCA (Government College of Arts), Chandigarh and then two years master degree in Master of Fine Arts”, Gill said. He topped in the four years sculpture degree.

He remembers polishing his art while doing six years of degree where he also learnt the actual use of fibreglass. “The beauty of place gets a facelift wherever they are kept and has little difference from the real life as the high quality raw material is used to make the statues”, he said.

Various natural designs of Gill are also in demand for various movie sets of Punjabi and Bollywood producers and directors.

A design of pot and a background made by him was also used in Bollywood movie ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’. “The film producers look for me whenever they fail to fit anything else at the movie background. Some designs made by me are also used as background for a TV serial”, he said.

He added that it takes a month time to complete one statue, depending upon its size and material to the tune of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 is used in its making.

Gill revealed that his parents have agricultural background his younger sister is international athlete and become Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) in Punjab Police and his elder younger sister is a writer. After trying his hand on a whole lot of postures and size of unending variety of subjects including animals, birds, human beings now Gill says that he now only dreams of making the statues of freedom fighters.

“My house in Ghalkalan village is full of war heroes and freedom fighters including Bhagat Singh, Kartar Sarabha, Chander Shekhar Azad and numerous others. Now I am trying to trace faces which are fast fading out from the memories of our people”, he added.

Initially struggling to get a perfect finish in one go but now his hand has got so much of experience that he completes the statue within a limited time period to get the perfect finish. The statues made of fibreglass otherwise costs Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.5 lakhs in the market which are light weight, 100 per cent water and corrosion resistant.

The class one officer, with the help of his younger brother also helps kids knowing the art during summer camps at various places in Punjab.

Source: The Tribune

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