Bhubaneswar, October 16: Artist Rakesh Kumar Sahu has created a massive, 72 kg chocolate sculpture of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to commemorate his 75th birthday.
The sculpture was unveiled by Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera in Kalinga Hockey Stadium here in the presence of Odisha Hockey Promotion Council Chairman Dillip Tirkey, Sports & Youth Services Department Commissioner-cum- Secretary R Vineel Krishna, athletes of the Hockey High Performance Centre and senior officials of the Sports Department.
The 32-year-old artist hailing from Begunia in Khurda district said he came up with the idea to create the sculpture as a tribute to Patnaik for his steadfast support for Indian Hockey over the last several years, which resulted in a spectacular performance by the Men’s and Women’s National Teams in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympic Games.
He completed the sculpture in 15 days, with the help of six of his students.
“It was when I was celebrating the bronze medal win, just like the rest of the country when it struck me that I should do something special for the man who stood by the National Hockey Team like a rock during its lowest phase – our Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik,” said Sahu.
Sahu has also founded an institution to teach baking and pastry art in Tankapani Road here.
Sahu and his team faced several obstacles over the course of creating the sculpture for more than two weeks, including sleepless nights due to temperature variation and change in moisture levels in their workshop. But their hard work ultimately paid off when the final sculpture turned out to be just as they had envisioned.
The Sports Department has decided to distribute the chocolate used to prepare the sculpture among disadvantaged children in adjoining areas after the completion of its exhibition period.
However, Sahu is not done yet. He plans to build a whole new generation of chocolatiers from the state next through his classes. And considering that a few of his students have already won medals at the national-level skill competitions, he seems to be on the right path.