Dextrous Kalamkari artisan by design
For Sivaprasada Reddy of Tanguturu, a faction village in Kurnool district, Kalamkari art takes precedence over agriculture. Even at the age of more than fifty his dextrous hands weave magic on cotton cloth transforming strokes into divine images. His strokes breathes life into images. The farmer-turned-Kalamkari artist is pursuing the art with a missionary zeal and imparting training to many.
Kurnool: For Sivaprasada Reddy of Tanguturu, a faction village in Kurnool district, Kalamkari art takes precedence over agriculture. Even at the age of more than fifty his dextrous hands weave magic on cotton cloth transforming strokes into divine images. His strokes breathes life into images. The farmer-turned-Kalamkari artist is pursuing the art with a missionary zeal and imparting training to many.
Sivaprasada Reddy ran away from home when he was a kid to pursue his passion. He was even prepared to starve for the sake of receiving art education. He returned home in his native village in Banaganapalle mandal only after he settled down as a Kalamkari artist and getting an award from the then Chief Minister NT Rama Rao in recognition of his creative work.
After receiving the award Sivaprasada Reddy was accorded celebrity status by the villagers who had earlier hated him for running away to take up what they felt as a meaningless pursuit. The villagers showered love and affection on his return Though a native of faction-ridden village, he moved away from faction politics and practiced Kalamkari art. Sivaprasada Reddy is a recipient of many awards.
After education, Sivaprasada Reddy went to Srikalahasti, a thriving center for the Kalamkari art. He approached the Kalamkari art training center in the pilgrim town. He was so overcome by his passion that it defeated his hunger. The center offers training to students and pays stipend to them. But there were no seats vacant in the stipend category. Undeterred, Sivaprasada Reddy approached the center director for a seat. Impressed by Sivaprasada Reddy’s intense interest in the art, the director offered him a seat but without stipend.
A few days later, Sivaprasada Reddy was offered stipend after a student who was getting this benefit left the training center on personal grounds. This came as a great relief for him and provided him the means and motivation to evolve as a full-scale artist. Sivaprasada Reddy started working with renewed enthusiasm as he did not have to starve because of the stipend.
During his spare time he started drawing images on cotton textiles. To develop a particular style, he started reading Hindu mythological texts. His work from the Bhagavatam on cotton cloth was amazing. To satisfy the artist in him, he drew images from the Ramayana and Bhagavatam on 47 feet long and 11 feet wide cotton cloth. The way he drew Lord Krishna’s childhood pranks was amazing. He even did not hesitate to sell his land to pursue his passion.
He lent beauty to even silk clothes with his artful strokes. The demand for the Kalamkari cloth produced by him from customers is good. They carry a brand value. In a fashion event, models showcased Kalamkari clothes designed by Sivaprasada Reddy. His son who is an engineer and employed, and his daughter, lends support to Sivaprasada Reddy in whatever way they can.
His son says that there is no reward or award which his father had not received. His father’s only aim was to awarded the Padmasri. Limca Book of Records honoured the Kalamkari artist and the Tamil Nadu government conferred on him the Best Artist Award. Going by his accomplishments, there is a likelihood of Sivaprasada Reddy achieving his dream of being conferred Padmasri at some point of time in the future.
By D Hari Kishan