Sculpting, a way of life for Gopanna
He is not the kind of boy next door; more was a sculptor in the making. Marri Gopal Reddy, popularly known as MG Reddy and Gopanna, would have gone places had he better focused on his academics, but the hammer, chisel and a piece of wood are what he has set his sight on.
Warangal: He is not the kind of boy next door; more was a sculptor in the making. Marri Gopal Reddy, popularly known as MG Reddy and Gopanna, would have gone places had he better focused on his academics, but the hammer, chisel and a piece of wood are what he has set his sight on.
MG Reddy’s penchant for sculpting right from the days of carving little objects clandestinely with the tools of a carpenter working in his house may have gone unnoticed by his parents, but the urge within him simmered to gigantic proportions as he grew old.
Once he set out of his village, Devaruppula (now in Jangaon district) to Hanamkonda for further studies after Class VII, his love for wood carving re-emerged with vigour. Though he pursued graduation in Arts & Science College, and later on post-graduation in arts and architecture from Osmania University, Ph.D. in 1991, he was always engrossed in perceiving aesthetics of nature. And it continued through his 35-year teaching career.
From the humble beginning, the self-taught artist not only explored tectonic and atectonic forms but also excelled in creating beauty from clay and stone. The asymmetrical creations, totem-like figurines, naïve rudimentary forms craved out of wood or stone that catch people spellbound buttress the fact that simplicity is his hallmark.
The totemic figure which resembles Iberian sculpting style, the carving of long-legged Nagin, inspired by a sculpture in famous Ramappa temple, and the list goes on and on that personify his elegance. His works, apart from depicting his concern for environment, also reveal the pedagogical reflections.
His contemporaries grudge that MG Reddy didn’t get due recognition that he deserves. But MG Reddy who is his mid-70s has no such qualms. “My sole motif is to create beauty through carvings and not necessarily for someone else to notice,” he says. Such was his humbleness.
“So the dictum ‘A thing of beauty is joy forever’ is MG Reddy’s way of life. He is one who let his hammer and chisel does all the noise entire life instead of chasing awards and rewards,” Sahitya Akademi award winner and novelist Ampasayya Naveen told The Hans India, about his longtime friend.
“Every artefact is unique and has a story. Sir infused life into them. His love for nature reflects in his artwork that include bird shelter, boat and sailors, couple, pregnant, woman labourer, vegetable vendor etc.,” said, VS Ravikanth, who submitted a thesis titled ‘Silpi MG Reddy’ in Telugu University as part of his BFA dissertation.
Some of the awards he won include: AP Lalitha Kala Academy in 1978, 79 and 81, All India Art Exhibition, Ugadi Puraskar from the then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy in 2005, Visista Puraskar in 2010 by the then CM K Rosaiah, Potti Sriramulu Telugu University in 2000, INTACH in 1989, PT Reddy Memorial in 1999 and other awards. This apart, twice he won ‘Best Teacher’ in 1988 and 97. MG Reddy, who was born to Rami Reddy and Amruthamma on September 26, 1943, is the third of six siblings.