Renowned sculptor Kanaka Murthy dies of COVID-19 in Bengaluru

One of the most celebrated sculptors in India, Kanaka’s works were primarily based on Indian mythology.
Kanaka Murthy
Kanaka Murthy
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Renowned sculptor Kanaka Murthy died of COVID-19 at a private hospital in Bengaluru on Thursday. Kanaka Murthy, 79, had developed COVID-19 symptoms a few days ago and was under home quarantine. However, her condition worsened and she was rushed to the hospital where she breathed her last.

One of the most celebrated sculptors in India, Kanaka’s notable works include poet, playwright, novelist and critic Kuvempu’s bust at Lalbagh West Gate; the Wright Brothers’ statue at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bengaluru; busts of Hindustani classical vocalists such as Gangubai Hangal, Mallikajun Mansur and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in other public places. She has won the Karnataka Jakanachari Award, State Shilpakala Academy Award, the Rajyotsava Award and Suvarna Karnataka Award. She has written two books — one on line drawings called Shilpa Rekha; and a memoir titled Howde? Idu Naane, mainly about her mentor.

In an interview to TNM in 2018, Kanaka Murthy spoke about her love for sculpting and how she had to struggle to be taken seriously for her art. “The stone inspires me. Once when visiting a temple in Mysuru, I saw the stone sculptures of deities there. That fascinated me. I kept going back to the place almost every day just to see those beautiful sculptures,” she had said, “I am not interested in learning anything other than sculpting. Not English, not technology, nothing.”

“People refused to believe in my talent since sculpting had always been a male enterprise,” Kanaka said.

Kanaka is survived by her husband Narayana Murthy and son Rumi Harish.

Mourning her death, Kannada Development Authority Chairman T S Nagabharana said Kanaka Murthy had to face opposition for taking sculpting as a career but her commitment to her passion led her to her Guru, Vadiraj, who shaped her as a renowned sculptor.

With inputs from PTI

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