B R Khedekar (86), a noted sculptor who has sculpted over 400 statues, raised the issue of lack of mention of the sculptor’s name on the plaque placed beneath a statue sculpted by the artist. Khedkar has sculpted over 100 statutes that have been installed in the city and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Khedkar would be sending a memorandum to Mayor Vaishali Bankar on his 87 birthday, on August 12, seeking explanation for the omission of artists’ names on the plaques placed beneath statues sculpted by them.
“Why are the sculptors given secondary treatment? The civic body only displays names of political leaders who inaugurate statues,” Khedeakr said.
Khederakr’s works include four equestrian statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, freedom fighter Senapati Bapat, educationist Baburao Jagtap, the city’s first Mayor Baburao Sanas, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Sardar Ahilyabai Holkar and Shahu Maharj, among others.
“I was told that there is no need to mention the sculptor’s name on the plaque as the civic body pays for the work,” Khedkar said. He said the incident dates back to 1970 when the statue of Mahatma Joytiba Phule was installed before the PMC headquarters. Khedeakr said he had objected to the argument made by the then civic officials by arguing that sculpting was a highly skilled and a creative task, and should be respected as a piece of art.
“None of the sculptors, whose creations have been installed across the city, have been credited for their works. This includes veteran sculptors Groegaonkar brothers from Mumabi, who had sculpted the beautiful equestrian statue of Jhansi Ki Rani opposite Balgandharv Rangamandir,” Khedkar said. Khedkar said he too faced a similar situation a few months ago after sculpting a statue of former Congress MLA Balasaheb Shivarkar’s late father Viththalrao.
“My name was missing from the plaque,” Khedkar said. The veteran sculptor said the equestrian statue of Shivaji Maharaj that was sculpted by him and installed in San Jose, California, has mention of his name.
“If the government of these countries can gives us recognition, then why not our own people?” Khedkar said. Over 25 sculptors from the city, including Sanjay Pardeshi, Suresh Raut, Neelesh Khedkar, Seema Shirke, Bhagwan Rampure, Pramod Kamble, Ram Mali and Mahendra Thopate, have supported Khedkar.
“Forget about giving artists their due credit, many a time the sculptor is not even invited for the inauguration of the statue. There is a grave need to unite sculptors to fight against this unjust attitude of the civic body,” Abhijit Dhondphale, a noted sculptor and recipient of B R Khedkar Trust award for meritorious work in the field of sculpting, said. Fellow artist Bharat Vedpathak echoed Dondphale’s sentiments.
The other side
Municipal Secretary Sunil Parkhi said the issue of giving credit to the sculptors must go through a prescribed procedure. It needs to be addressed during an all-party meet followed by the final approval from the General Body. “Khedkar’s demand is just and the PMC needs to take its seriously. I shall personally look into the issue,” Mayor Bankar said.
>> Statues in the city: 72
>> Statues in Pimpri-Chichwad: 43
>> Total: 115