Figures in Snow « Jana Aastha News Online
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९ आश्विन २०७९, आईतवार
|  Sun Sep 25 2022
Logo
९ आश्विन २०७९, आईतवार
|  Sun Sep 25 2022

Figures in Snow

प्रकाशित मिति :  १४ चैत्र २०७८, सोमबार ११:४५


By Safeena Wani

Sporadic pictures of statues of snow in foreign countries and occasionally in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are splashed on newspapers and magazines during winter. In cold countries of Europe and the United States snow sculptures are regular features during winter. But this winter, Kashmir and Ladakh are coming up with a series of snow sculptures starting from a Taj Mahal to a mythical snow lion and even a café in ice. These are attracting a huge number of winter tourists prompting the Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh to announce that it will be a regular show every year.

The snow sculpture of Taj Mahal built for the first time has become the latest attraction for tourists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Gulmarg after the igloo cafe opened here, which also attracted many eyeballs. The world wonder looked more beautiful in the evening with lighting. The 16 feet replica of Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, has been sculpted by members of the hotel Grand Mumtaz with an aim to make the tourist destination Gulmarg more appealing and memorable. By building this new sculpture with zero material cost in 17 days, the locals have managed not to cease the excitement of the tourists from across the world.

Snow sculpture or snow art is a sculpture like sand sculpture or ice sculpture in that most of it is now practiced outdoors, and often in full view of spectators. The sculptures are usually carved out of a single block of snow weighing about 20 – 30 tons. The snow is densely packed into a form after having been produced by artificial means or collected from the ground after a snowfall. While snow sculptures are normal in other countries and snow festivals are organised on an international scale this is for the first time in India the event is organised in a big way.

In 2018 three Ladakhi artists — Tsering Gurmet Kungyam, Chemet Dorjay, and Stanzin Khangsar — came together to construct a Changchup Chorten (symbolising the Buddha’s moment of enlightenment). Located inside the Ice Stupa in Phyang village near Leh, the 10-feet- high chorten was made entirely of ice. Since then, these artists have gone on to make sculptures in Leh and travelled across the world. They learnt the art of making structures from ice, like the Ice Hotel, in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, attended international snow and ice festivals in China, and saw the potential of this art form in promoting winter tourism in Ladakh. While it was just the three in the beginning, over the years, they have added more personnel. The group came together to establish the Kangsing (‘Snow Lion’, celestial animal of Himalayan region) in December.

This year, they organised the Ladakh Snow and Ice Sculpture Workshop 2022 in Chilling valley, along the frozen Zanskar River. This ‘first of its kind’ workshop was attended by 20-25 artists. While snow spraying guns and cutting machines are used to make these ice sculptures abroad, the first workshop concluded with traditional chisels, chainsaws, and other locally made cutting machines. The artists brought together local graphic designers, traditional painters, artists, and sculptors who work on other mediums, and created a group called the Kangsing Snow and Ice Sculpture Association.

During their visits abroad they bought some smaller tools and created their own ice-carving tool, akin to a wood-carving chisel, only larger in size. The Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur met the artists and agreed to support them. He also promised to help us to purchase two snow making machines next year and asked us to turn this into a self- sustaining endeavour.

Dr Nordan Otzer, a local social activist, who helped the Kangsing Association said in peak winter, when the temperatures go down to -20°C, traditional artisans who work with clay and ceramic are rendered jobless because their mediums freeze up. But the Himalayan belt has the potential to conduct events like The Harbin International Ice Festival in China, Sapporo Snow festival in Japan, and the Quebec City Winter Carnival in Canada. In two months, the artists have made an ice cafe, a snow leopard (state animal) sculpture dedicated to the Ladakh Police, and items resembling interior (home) furniture.


प्रतिक्रिया दिनुहोस !