Team from India wins international snow art competition in Japan

A team of three, belonging to extremely poor and rural families, have done India proud by winning the first prize at the international snow art competition held in Japan. This was the first-ever team from India to participate in the extremely popular competition.

Hailing from remote villages of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Uttar Pradesh (UP), the three artists pooled their resources to participate in the event and got the achievement without any government sponsorship or support.

Working under the most adverse conditions, the ill-equipped youths of Team India Abhyuday beat the better equipped 11 teams from eight developed countries that participated in the International Snow Sculpturing Competition (ISSC) Japan Cup 2019, held at Nayoro in Japan from February 6 to 9. Team Russia and Team Thailand came second and third respectively.

The team had also earlier won three awards – two excellent and one special award at the World Snow Art Competition held in China in December last.

Working in bone-chilling high-speed cold winds and -25 degree Celsius freezing temperatures, a record in 19 years of the competition’s history, Ravi Prakash, Sunil Kumar Kushwaha and Rajnish Verma of the Indian team sculptured Lord Vishnu’s Varah Avatar (Swine Incarnation). The 4-metre high, 3-metre long and 3-metre wide statue, based on a unique mythological character that saved earth from demons, was the biggest attraction for snow art lovers.

The team had a tough time making it to the event due to lack of money and no sponsorship from government. It was due to a Delhi-based NGO Viswa Samanwayak Sangh that the team could travel and win the major event.

Upon their triumph in Japan, the three-member team, led by Bihar’s Ravi Prakash, was given a grand welcome at the Delhi airport by organization chairman Kusham Sah, officials Indrajeet, Abhinav Acharya, Rajkumar and volunteers on their return on Monday.

They will be felicitated at Jawahar Lal Nehru University on February 27 for their excellent achievements, Ravi said.

About the “Team”

Ravi Prakash is resident of village Pakarihar Khurd under Mohania block of Kaimur district in southwest Bihar. He has been taking care of education for his two younger sisters and a brother after the death of his father. Passionate in idol-making from early childhood, he is a gold medalist both in Bachelors in Fine Art (BFA) and Masters in Fine Art (MFA) from Allahabad University and Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMIU). He is presently working as a guest lecturer at JMIU.

Sunil Kumar Kushwaha, resident of the remote hilly village Kachani in Maoist-affected Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh, is the son of a poor factory labourer. Sunil completed his MFA from JMIU in 2014 and works as a freelance artist.

Rajnish Verma, resident of village Patel Nagar in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district, was raised by his widowed mother. He completed his MFA from JMIU in 2018, and is also a freelance artist.

“Our only endeavour is to make India proud in the field of Fine Arts all over the world. Financial gains have been secondary. We are inspired by our prime minister’s suggestions to youths to become self-dependent and contribute in making India a shining nation,” the trio say.