City inlay artist creates 11 ft. tall elephant, gifts it to actor Upendra

City inlay artist creates 11 ft. tall elephant, gifts it to actor Upendra

October 17, 2022

Mysore/Mysuru: City wood inlay artist Muniyappa, who began his career as a carpenter, making pushcarts and mastered the art in wood inlay works with rigorous practice and dedication, has created a tall inlay work of a howdah elephant and has gifted the same to Sandalwood actor Upendra on his birthday recently.

The elephant inlay work is 11.6 ft. tall, 5 ft. long and is 2 ft. thick. “It costs about Rs. 2.12 lakh and it took two months for me and my brother to create it,” said Muniyappa, a resident of Tilaknagar.

Stating that he presented the elephant inlay work to actor Upendra as he is close to the actor, Muniyappa said that he has a passion towards cinema and has written a few screenplays and lyrics besides working in a few films of the ‘Real Star’ Upendra.

Muniyappa with the turtle-shaped Ashtalakshmi inlay at his workshop.

Born into a carpenter’s family, Muniyappa, who studied till 7th standard, involved himself in the family business of making pushcarts for street vendors and later tried his hands on wood inlay. His elder brother Keshavachari taught him the inlay work skills.

Pointing out that he never uses artificial colours, Muniyappa said that he used natural coloured wood of various trees such as Sampige, Jackfruit, Rose Wood, Teak, Blueberry, Slate Mathi (it has several colour shades based on its age) to come out with a fine inlay work.

Inlay of the famous ‘Glow of Hope’ painting in finishing stages.

He said that wood inlays are made by cutting a shaped pocket on wood and then filling that pocket with another wood piece cut to the same shape. “It sounds very simple, but it is not an easy task. Mastering the art of drawing and cutting the wood according to the image and joining them together to form an art piece requires patience and dedication,”  he said.

Muniyappa has so far created wood inlays of Jumboo Savari, Ravana, Ganapathi and is in the process of completing inlay works of the ‘Glow of Hope,’ alternately titled ‘Woman With the Lamp,’ a painting by S.L. Haldankar.


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