“I don’t feel I achieved everything yet”- Legendary Sculptor of “The Statue of Unity”- Ram V. Sutar
19th February 1925
Gondur, Dhule, Maharashtra
Proudly says ‘imd1’ for
A true artist never gets satisfied no matter how legendarily epic their artwork is been crafted. To have a glimpse of “The Phenomenal Statue of Unity” is in every Indian’s bucket list but what makes it so special is a pure mind and efforts of an artist like Ram Sutar. He is an extraordinaire who feels there are more BIG wonders to be sculpted by him. Hailing from Gondur village in Dhule, Maharashtra; he is creating wonders since the pre-independent era till today. Ramji is appreciated and recognized by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Balasaheb Thackeray and many more notable personas ever lived on the Indian soil. Earned diploma with a Gold Medal from JJ School of Arts, his Alma Mater, Ramji has earned the prestigious ‘Life Time Achievement Honour’ from Bombay Arts Society, he is also conferred upon Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri Award and Tagore Award. Passing on the legacy to his son Anil Sutar, Ramji the mastermind’s ideas are managed by him. After creating the wondrous Statue of Unity, Ram Sutar is all set to flabbergast Indians by sculpting the statue of the heroic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.Our team was overwhelmed to interview such a humble and down-to-earth persona.
We are really keen to know; how did your journey begin?
Back in the day in my village, I used to help my father in our small workshop and worked as carpenter and also did smithy work. When my mother applied clay mixed with cow dung on walls, I used to make paintings on wall. I used to create the painting of Ramdas Swami and Tukaram. One day in the back yard, I came across a scorpion which I killed, then when I observed the soap used by us, the colour was similar to the scorpion I had killed and I thought I should make a sculpture out of it, hence out of that soap I created a scorpion which was my first sculpture. That’s how I got aware of this passion inside me.
What was that moment when you discovered that you want to become a Sculptor?
I enjoyed studying in the field of art and architecture. With this passion, we meet a lot of people influencing and supporting us to grow in the craft and that is how one goes on doing it. I went to the school of arts for four years for further studies where I met many sculptors like Mhatre, Karmarkar and many more. I used to accompany them in their workshops and learned many things by challenging myself. Everybody figures out that you have got that talent in you when you are willing to work towards it dedicatedly.
Know me Beyond Sculpting
Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi
I draw Inspirations from
My Art Teacher in school
Food I Hate
All Vegetables and Cuisines of Maharashtra
Had I not been a Sculptor then,
“There cannot be a second option”
Like Vacations at
England, Italy and Russia
Favorite Pass time
I sometimes read Gitai written by Vinoba Bhave
Favorite Movies / Series
Old films like Tukaram and Ramdas Swami
Favorite Actor / Actress
Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan
What were the hardships/hurdles you’ve encountered and how did you overcome them in your journey?
No difficulty arose in the journey, even though we have come up from the bottom facing poverty, whatever came we accepted it happily. After working, I never demanded for anything and kept on improving on the craft. This is how my life goes on and today we have come so far.
Tell us something about your GURU?
My Guru, Shriram Krishna Joshi ji also studied in the JJ School of Arts. Due to his humbleness and good behavior, I learnt a lot of things from him. He motivated me by saying that you are talented, and you should get training and education by joining the JJ School of Arts. I joined college with Guruji’s help and guidance which helped me to become more confident and experienced sculptor which helped me a lot in my craft. He made arrangements for me to stay in Mumbai and he even sent me a sum ?25 per month.
Success is incomplete without its share of setbacks. What advice would you give to others about handling them?
Setbacks or hurdles teach us to become a better person and improve our ability to think better next time. Unless you try yourself, you will never learn. Never get disheartened by failure. Try to improve yourself. If you are passionate you will be able to deal with it in a positive way.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
One has to look inside to discover, improvise their talent and take proper coaching to become better. Also by working continuously and improving, one can positively achieve their goals.
How has technology transformed the world of Art?
Technology is being used in all the fields and we are also using computers and 3D scanning to make monumental sculptures. We can make very big statues/ sculptures these days with the help of technology.
Your piece of advice to parents who are skeptical about their children taking up a career in any co-curricular activities?
Speak up on behalf of the talent you have inside you and people will definitely support you in achieving your goal. Parents can easily figure out the talent and passion their kid has for something. Every child has a talent incepted in him/her since birth and parents must find it and also help their child in being consistent in it.
What was your first reaction when you got to know that you have to sculpt the “Statue of Unity”?
Initially, this statue was installed in the Parliament the same way how Gandhiji, Indiraji and Nehruji’s statue is placed. Sardar Patel’s statue was installed in Ahmedabad Airport and after seeing this, PM Modi wished we have to create the biggest statue of Sardar Patel; my design was approved by PM Modi and this is how the preparation for the World’s Tallest Statue began. There were many people in the studio and foundry involved in the preparation of the world’s biggest statue. It took us 4 years to complete the whole project.
How much time did you take to complete sculpting “Statue of Unity” and share your experience about the same?
It was a very good experience to work with Architects, Engineers and other people helping us on this project which required best knowledgeable and experienced team.This world’s biggest statue was possible due to perfect co-ordination between the Sculptor, Architect and Engineers.
Your piece of advice to the youth of our country?
The only advice I would love to give to the youth is, whatever talent lies within you, should be nurtured and expressed to the fullest and also share that knowledge in the society. We are happy because our talent has contributed in the well-being of the nation.
What is your success mantra?
There is no success mantra. Hard work with a goal to do good work, and no short cuts which will make you create unsatisfactory work is the key to create good work which will be appreciated by everyone.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I Am The 1”?
Anil Sutar- He doesn’t feel that he has achieved everything yet. There are lots of ambitions and big projects in his mind, he wants to create more big statues in the world. After the completion of ‘The Statue of Unity’, he is looking forward for the creation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in Mumbai.
Any other thoughts you want to share?
Anil Sutar- The only message he conveys every time is consistently work on your talent, never look back and keep working for a better future of your life at the same time be aware and live in the present.
What was your thought behind encouraging your son to take up Sculpting as a professional career?
Anil is a born artist. He is a good painter, a good Architect, a good sculptor and a good entrepreneur with good management skills. We both work together and enjoy working on large scale monuments. I did not have to tell him or encourage him. He can work in any field and as he is multi- talented.