Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik now has his name in the Guinness Book of World Records for building the world's tallest sand castle. The award-winning artist built a 48.08ft structure at a beach in Puri, taking over four days. He had 45 students come over from the Sudarsan Sand Art Institute in Puri, and, along with 500 labourers, completed the structure.
The 39-year-old beat the previous world record, held by American Ted Siebert, by 2.98ft.
As with almost all of Pattnaik's work, this one, too, features a message. It is a tribute to “world peace and harmony”, with the faces of Mahatma Gandhi, the Buddha and Nelson Mandela at the base of the sand castle.
Pattnaik is known for spreading socially relevant messages through his art.
In 2016, he created a sculpture with 1,000 Santa Claus heads, with the message, “Bring happiness to the world”.
When demonetisation hit Indians out of the blue and left many stranded for cash from ATMs, Pattnaik's sculpture sent out a message of hope and perseverance. The sand sculpture showed two faces, one which had a wreath on notes of 500 and 1000, with the message “RIP black money”, and the other with the pink and white Rs 2000 note, saying “Beginning of a clean India”.
Among his other works, the most notable were the ones in which he appealed for tiger protection, eco-friendliness and sculptures congratulating Olympic medallists. Previously, his work has also spoken against female infanticide and religious intolerance, while also touching on topics such as cricket and music.
His sculpture-tributes also include the late Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, Alan Kurdi (the Syrian refugee toddler who was found dead on a Turkey beach), and former president APJ Abdul Kalam.
With over 47,000 likes and followers on Facebook and Twitter, he is a revered artist who connects with people around India over sand art.
Puri-based Pattnaik was bestowed with the Padma Shri in 2014. Between 2006 and 2010, he created world records at the same beach, which earned him a spot in the Limca Book of World Records for five consecutive years.
According to reports, he also created 23 world records in Limca. He also serves as the brand ambassador for the International Sand Art Festival in Odisha, which happens in around December every year.
His efforts also won him awards in Turkey, Italy, Japan, Spain, Germany, China, Russia, South Korea, Canada and the US between 2002 and 2016.