On Ganesh Chathurthi, award-winning sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik embellished the sands of Puri beach in Odisha with yet another masterpiece - a sand-scupture of Lord Ganesh adorned with emerald motifs.
The Padma Shri awardee on Monday tweeted images of his newest creation, and of Lord Ganesh sculptures he's made before. These include an extraordinary 25-foot high carving he made in Japan in 2009. However, Pattnaik also had something more than festival wishes to convey to his Twitter followers.
"Save the environment," he wrote in the Ganesh Chathurthi greeting to which he attached a photo of his scultpure. The inscription on the enormous sculpted leaf held by Pattnaik's Lord Ganesh echoes his message. 'Go Green,' it reads.
This isn't the first time Pattnaik has used his art to draw attention to issues of national and global interest. He's created sand sculptures to highlight the Syrian refugee crisis, to plead for the protection of tigers, and to promote the Swachch Bharat initiative, just to give a few examples. In August, his sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi based on the theme of world peace won the People's Choice Award at the Moscow Sand Sculpture Championship. In June, his sculpture titled 'Drugs Kill Sports' won him the gold medal in the People's Choice Prize at the World Championship Festival of Sand Sculpting in Bulgaria.
Pattnaik also uses his sculptures to pay tribute to prominent public or historical figures on important occasions. In the past four weeks alone, he has - through his art - commemorated Mother Teresa's canonization, appealed to the Indian government to award the Bharat Ratna to hockey legend Dhyan Chand, and congratulate India's Olympic heroes.