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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Have you heard about Gombe Mane, the group of sculptors behind the viral Karnataka woman statue?

Srinivas Gupta (57), a Bhagyanagar-based businessman, was missing his wife MVK Madhavi at his housewarming ceremony in Karnataka. She had died three years ago in a car crash. However, he gave a stunning surprise to the guests at the ceremony when they saw his wife sitting on the sofa at his new house. Well, it was not her but a life-like statue of her instead. The statue not only left the guests speechless but they were also impressed with its intricate craftsmanship. For those caught unaware, the statue was carved by artisans at Bengaluru’s famous Gombe Mane.

Run by renowned sculptor M Sridhar Murthy, Gombe Mane came into working only in 2017. Speaking with The News Minute, Sridhar, who hails from a lineage of sculptors, said, “We’ve been in this business for over 200 years now. My grandfather used to tell us stories about our family history and how our ancestors were sculptors in Hampi during the Vijayanagara empire,” revealing that many of his ancestors were artisans in courts of Mysuru kings.

Not just that, Sridhar claimed that his great grandfather, Thippaji, was a noted artist in the court of Tipu Sultan. “When Tipu Sultan visited Shikaripur in the late 1700s, my great grandfather was just 12 years old. He painted the king’s procession and sent it to him. My grandfather told us that Tipu was so impressed that he commissioned his portrait from my great grandfather, who painted two identical ones. One was given to Tipu and one was kept at home. We still have that painting with us. After Tipu’s death, my great grandfather went on to become an artist in Mummudi Krishnaraj Wodeyar’s court,” Sridhar added.

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Elaborating on his life, Sridhar also revealed that he studied fine arts in Bengaluru’s Chitrakala Parishad in the late 80s while training under his father, who was then popularly known as Shilpi Kashinath. “My father was a very renowned sculptor. He was the one who did most of the work on the Shiva statue in Murudeshwar. My father received the Janakachari Award and the Rajyotsava Award for his work. He was trained by my grandfather while my grandfather himself learned the art from his father Parashuramappa, who was also a celebrated sculptor of his time. We come from a family of painters and sculptors,” Sridhar happily stated.

Apart from the viral Karnataka woman statue, Sridhar has carved the Basaveshwara statue in Gadag apart from the 85 ft statue of Shiva in Sikkim’s Solophok Centre and the 85 ft Hanuman statue in Chaitanya City in Madhya Pradesh.

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