‘Nataraja’ is a powerful symbol that combines in a single image, Shiva as creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe and conveys the Bharatiya understanding of the dynamic cycle of time. The Nataraja sculpture became the talk of the art world, with critics hailing it as a modern marvel and an enduring symbol of artistic excellence. Delegates from across the globe flocked to witness Sthapathy’s creation for themselves, eager to experience the beauty and transcendental energy that emanated from this renowned work of art. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) played a pivotal role in the installation of the ‘Nataraja’ statue at Bharat Mandapam, the G-20 Summit venue. To deliberate, discuss, have discourse and disseminate the knowledge on ‘Nataraja’ to the younger generation organized a symposium on “Nataraja: Manifestation of Cosmic Energy” at Dr Ambedkar International Centre. The event also witnessed the felicitation of the makers of the spectacular masterpiece the Nataraja Idol.
The guests and speakers of the Symposium were Padma Bhushan Dr Padma Subrahmanyam, Padma Vibhushan Dr Sonal Mansingh (MP, Rajya Sabha), Shri Rambahadur Rai, President, IGNCA Trust, Shri Gobind Mohan, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, Shri Biman Bihari Das, Chairman, AIFACS, Prof. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Principal, College of Art, Shri Radha Krishna Sthapati, Maker of the Nataraja Idol, Swami Malai, Tamil Nadu, Shri Adwaita Gadnayak, Former Director General NGMA, Shri Anil Sutar, Eminent Sculptor and Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi, Member Secretary, IGNCA. More than 200 students attended the event besides the audience and cultural enthusiasts from different walks of life.
Speaking at the event Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam talked at length about the concept of Nataraja. She talked about the space of consciousness. Scientifically this is the mingling of matter and energy. This is the yantra (line diagram worshipped ritually). It is a combination of ‘Rupa’ worship (worship of form) and ‘Arupa’ worship (worship of the formless element of space), both housed in the Sanctum of ‘Nataraja’ shrine at Chidambaram. In her presentation, she elaborated on the different facets and dynamism of ‘Nataraja’. The audience in the gathering was enlightened by the knowledge provided by her.
Padma Bhushan Dr Padma Subrahmanyam elaborated on the different facets and dynamism of ‘Nataraja’
Dr Sonal Mansingh said it was a privilege to participate in the meticulously organized symposium on “Nataraja: Manifestation of Cosmic Energy” referring to the installation of the Nataraja statue at the new ITPO Convention Centre. She expressed her gratitude to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts for hosting this enlightening event, fostering Bharatiya values, knowledge & correct information about our rich cultural heritage.
While addressing the gathering Shri Govind Mohan, Ministry of Culture (GoI) shared his anecdotal references pertaining to the making of ‘Nataraja’ and said the whole process was challenging yet it was ‘Nataraja’ who kept inspiring in the completion of the mammoth task. He reiterated that the making of it was to be done in the traditional way and thus the tallest ‘Nataraja’ idol in the world was made by Sthapati, Radha Krishna and his team, Swami Malai, Tamil Nadu using the traditional lost wax casting process following canons and measurements as mentioned in Silpa Shastra, which have followed in the making of Nataraja since the Chola period, i.e., 9th century AD onwards
IGNCA organized a Symposium on “Nataraja: Manifestation of Cosmic Energy”
Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi while talking at the event elaborated on how Nataraja is Shiva’s representation and symbolic of cosmic energy. The ‘Tandav Mudra’ is a cosmic cycle of creativity, preservation and destruction. He concluded by saying that an unimaginable task was completed in a record time. It was amidst great pomp and enthusiasm, the globally renowned sculptor Shri Radha Krishna Sthapati of Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu was felicitated for his exceptional artistic prowess, whose masterpiece has enthralled art enthusiasts worldwide. He received this prestigious honour for creating the iconic ‘Nataraja’ statue that adorned the G20 Summit held in New Delhi recently. The 27-foot Nataraja statue, weighing around 18 tonnes, has been crafted by the traditional Sthapatis of Swamimalai in the traditional lost wax casting process following canons and measurements as mentioned in the scriptures. The clay that is used to make the statue is available on a stretch of the Cauvery River that runs through Swamimalai.
The G20 summit organizers were in search of an artist who could depict the essence of unity, strength, and grace through their artwork. Sthapathy’s name resounded through the art community, and he was chosen for this monumental task. For months, Sthapathy meticulously studied the intricate details of Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance, seeking to encapsulate the spirit of the Nataraja in his sculpture. Natraja’s statue was unveiled at the G-20 Summit.
Disclaimer: This is an official press release by Pib.