Dear List members,
as most of you are doubtless aware, the picturesque seashore promenade in Chennai (Madras) known as Marina Beach is embellished by numerous statues. Many of them were erected in January 1968† as memorials †of icons of Tamil literature (including Avvaiyar, Tiruvalluvar, etc.) to mark the Second World Tamil Conference, organized by then DMK government of C. N. Annadurai.
Whereas the authorship of some statues is well-known, e.g., Debi Prasad Roy Choudhury MBE (1899–1975) – Triumph of Labour, Gandhi - †the sculptor of Auvaiyar/Avvaiyar remains, at least for me and my colleagues, obscure. There are some indications that the famous artist S. Dhanapal (1919-2000), who studied at the Government School of Arts and Crafts under the tutelage of D.P.R. Choudhury, has sculpted Auvaiyar, but the hard evidence that he was the author of the Marina monument is missing.
I therefore hope that the collective genius of the list will help and somebody knowledgeable would be kind enough to identify the sculptor, the material of the „composite“ statue depicting at least three poetesses by the same name from various epochs, and the size (height) of the artefact, if possible.
With many thanks, Jan Filipsky, Oriental Institute, Praha †
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