How artist Yogi Raj landed the big job sculpting a 280-ton Netaji statue to be unveiled by PM Modi


Central Delhi is ready for a makeover. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the 28-foot Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose statue along with Central Vista Avenue later today. The lead sculptor of this larger than life statue – Arun Yogi Raj – spoke to CNN-News18 in an exclusive interview about the design of the statue and more importantly how he landed the heavy lifting and much more.

According to the sculptor, preparations for the project began in January. It was then that he and 8-9 other artists received phone calls to attend a meeting regarding the project. They were all invited to the meeting where the seeds of the Netaji statue were sown. During the meeting, it was decided that the statue would be made of stone. This caught the attention of Arun Raj, who comes from a family of carvers who have been in the craft for generations.

“After I heard they were looking for a stone statue, I knew right away that was my cup of tea,” Yogi Raj told CNN-News18, adding that he majored in carving. on stone.

The design brief was simple – a larger than life statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose made out of stone, but the task at hand was not an easy one.

“There are several challenges when it comes to carving such a large statue out of stone, that too out of granite. We started by sculpting a replica of the actual statue and eventually started working on the real one. It is a monolithic granite statue and granite in general is a difficult stone to carve,” said Yogi Raj.

The statue weighs 280 tons and involves multiple artists working around the clock, sometimes 24 hours straight to finish on time. According to the Ministry of Culture, it took more than 26,000 hours to carve the statue.

“There was a lot of pressure for a number of reasons – it was going to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister himself, it was to be placed at the iconic India Gate and it was a rare statue which is a daunting task. J also had the opportunity to meet the PM which was a great moment for me and my team It’s rare for artists to get this kind of project and I still can’t believe my team and I we succeeded.

Later in the evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the new Kartavya Path – a stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate that will have red granite walkways with greenery all around, renovated canals, stalls of state food, new amenity blocks and kiosk vending machines. These measures are in line with the Prime Minister’s second “Panch Pran” for New India to Amrit Kaal: “remove all traces of colonial mentality”, he said.

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