Mumbai: Sculptor hits out at airport authorities as Shivaji statue gathers dust

The sculptor of the bronze statue of the warrior king near Terminal 2 is unhappy that airport authorities have let the idol gather dust and have not maintained it; officials have not even replied to his offer to clean and restore it

While authorities waste no time in naming structures after, and putting up statues of, Maratha warrior king Shivaji, they seem to not dedicate any time towards maintaining these statues. Yet another statue of the king this time near Terminal 2 of the Mumbai international airport is gathering dust and its sculptor has taken umbrage to this shoddy treatment of his work.

This statue near Terminal 2 is gathering dust and MIAL has not even responded to the sculptor’s offer to clean and restore it
This statue near Terminal 2 is gathering dust and MIAL has not even responded to the sculptor’s offer to clean and restore it (insert) Jayprakash Shirgaonkar

Jayprakash Shirgaonkar (65) is the sculptor of the statue on Sahar Road. The veteran sculptor is unhappy with the way Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) has maintained his labour of love, especially when the city airport is named after Shivaji. The bronze sculpture had a thick coating of dust and there are leaves lying around it.

“One day, I happened to pass by the spot and was shocked to see the poor condition of the statue. The garden, though, was well maintained. I immediately got in touch with the Urban Planning department at MIAL and told them I wanted to restore the statue. They asked me to send a rough quotation for the same,” Shirgaonkar said.

On December 18, 2014, the artist sent a quotation of Rs 1.5 lakh for cleaning and polishing material, labour charges and said it would take merely four days. An official from the Urban Planning department even acknowledged receiving the quotation and said he would revert soon. Nearly four months later, the 65-year-old is yet to hear from them.

According to Shirgaonkar, the 12-foot statue is 15 years old, weighs 2.5 tonnes and cost Rs 12 lakh to make. It had earlier been placed inside the old Terminal 2 and was later relocated in 2011 to its current location; Shirgaonkar was the one who undertook its shifting in 2011 as well.

“They have named the airport after Shivaji Maharaj but can’t even maintain the statue. Why name the airport after him, then?” questioned the disappointed artist. The Shirgaonkars have been sculptors for 50 years and Jayprakash is a third-generation sculptor, whose work is displayed in locations around the country and even abroad.

His work portfolio, other than statues of Shivaji, include statues of Dadasaheb Phalke in Film City, Mahatma Gandhi in and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in England (see box). MIAL declined to comment, despite repeated phone calls.

mid-day had earlier reported that the maintenance duties of the warrior king’s statue at Shivaji Park was stuck in red tape between the BMC and PWD. Meanwhile, another statue of Shivaji is ready to be inaugurated on the newly made Sahar elevated road.

Famous artist
Jayprakash Shirgaonkar has had his work displayed in all parts of the world.

>> Bronze bust of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at India House, London
>> Statue of Srinivasa Ramanujan, Cambridge University, England
>> Statue of Mahatma Gandhi, Mandela Garden, Hull City, England
>> A 12-foot full-size statue of Tanzania’s first president Julius Nyerere outside the country’s Parliament

>> Bronze statue of Shivaji at Mumbai international airport
>> Bronze statue of Shivaji at Agra Fort, UP
>> Bronze statue of Shivaji in Surat, Gujarat
>> Full-size bronze statute of Acharya Atre at Worli Naka

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