15 January, 2021

Snehesh Sinha, driftwood artist, longs to revive the dying art

Snehesh Sinha, driftwood artist, longs to revive the dying art
Octogenarian Snehesh Chandra Sinha is a tall, lanky man, still sprightly for his age. Though very few know it, Sinha is one of the last surviving driftwood artists in the country, from a legacy which includes the likes of the late Abanindranath Tagore, elder brother of the more famous Rabindranath.

Driftwood art itself is not well-known with most people associating it with woodcraft, says Sinha. Very few practice the art nowadays since the raw material is difficult to procure. Driftwood takes years to take form, and most of the time the artist has to collect it himself. "Basically, it’s roots and branches of trees deposited in the earth in glacier, river or water forms for a considerable period of time. Lying there for many many years, it tends to take on different forms. The driftwood artist tries to ‘find’ the shape and gives the finishing touches. Sometimes, one has to spend days and nights on just one piece," explains Sinha. Each piece has a distinct look and it’s up to the artist to find the shape and polish it, he adds while examining a fresh block.




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