Ganesh Chaturthi is just a week away and all one can see around are beautifully carved and painted Ganesh idols ready to be taken home. Goans are gearing up to celebrate the festival on September 19 and are eager to take the Lord home.
There are various types of Ganesh idols available in the market, placing before us several options. It's hard to make a choice. Artisans are working overtime to create some of the best idols this Ganesh Chaturthi, and one of them is Mandrem-based Sanket Mandrekar, who has kept up with the tradition of sculpting clay idols.
Mandrekar is a self-taught artist who has adopted the traditional method of shaping idols made from locally sourced clay keeping in tune with the message of eco-friendly Chaturthi. He grew up watching artisans in his village sculpting idols of the Lord.
His tryst with making Ganesh idols started when he shaped one for his house and the rest is history.
Speaking to Gomantak Times Digital, Sanket narrates the traditional process of making Ganesh idols. It was only after completing his degree in engineering, he decided to carve a Ganesh idol for his home in a traditional way.
He says there are various themes and elements artisans consider before starting the process of shaping the idols. The designs depend on what customers want, he adds.
What makes Sanket different from other artists carving Ganesh idols? To that, he replies, “My idols are eco-friendly as they are made of locally sourced clay and materials. The idols kept on display are not customised, but predesigned."
Sanket adds modestly, “What I am doing is not different. I am just carrying forward a tradition of our ancestors. For example, they used chikal matti (mud) found in the fields. We don't use synthetic colours, which are harmful to the environment."
Sanket’s message through idol-making is 'save mother nature, save the environment'. "There is no money factor involved in what I do. I never started this to make money, and it is only passion that drives me”.
When Sanket initially started making eco-friendly idols, he along with some friends made a video titled ‘The Change’ and posted it to promote a social message. Nowadays, people have started understanding the importance of sustainability and they are going in for eco-friendly idols," he mentions.
Sanket is into speed painting, portraits, live painting and caricature. “After finishing engineering, I worked in the corporate sector but left to pursue art”.
His main focus area is speed painting, portraits and carving of Ganesh idols. He has been recognised at the national level for his artworks at Sunburn 2022, Plateaunica 2019 and The Vamona Navelcar Art Festival 2023.
Talking about speed painting, he adds, "The thrill of doing something fast fascinates me the most.
On a parting note, Sanket says he lives to paint and enjoys every bit of it. So, if you are looking for a live caricature or a portrait, then Sanket is the guy to get in touch with.