Bhubaneswar: When the entire world got shut down due to COVID-19 pandemic, artist Samarendra Behera used his creativity and imagination to do something useful for himself as well as the society. Now he is one of the leading craftsman of artifacts made out of bamboo and coconut shells.
When lockdown started, he went back from his workplace at Kendrapada to his village Agada under Betnoti block in Mayurbhanj district and started making items with the coconut shells.
“I observed that people are throwing the shells of coconut after use. I cut and polished those and gave different shapes. Then I started doing tea cups out of those shells and posted their pictures on social media. After seeing the pictures, people from many districts of Odisha are demanding the items. I am also getting order from outside like Assam, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. These tea cups are good for our health and environment also,” he said.
“Taking an extra step I am also doing photo print on the coconut shell cups. For handle of the cups, I am using bamboo,” he added.
Setting an example for the youths who want to be self-dependent, the 26-year-old artist said, “If we have strong will power, we can use the unused things in a productive way.” He imparts training to the art students in a private college in Kendrapada.
“I was not getting a handsome salary in the art college. My family was also affected financially in the last six months due to lockdown. I thought of doing something new at home during the lockdown. Then I started doing different designs of tea cups and home decors with the help of coconut shells and bamboo,” said Samarendra.
He is selling each bamboo-made cup for Rs 250 and coconut shell cup for Rs 200.
“If the unemployed youths will get proper training on this craft, they can earn from home. Thousands of youths can be self-dependent out of this,” said Samarendra.
Bamboos are available in plenty in Mayurbhanj district. “A piece of bamboo costs about Rs 150. If it is properly used, it can fetch around Rs 2,500,” he added.
“I want to open a school and teach art work on bamboo and coconut shells. But I don’t have that much money for investment,” he said.
Besides, using the lockdown period fruitfully, he has been doing portrait on paper boards and ice-cream sticks.
Samarendra has done his degree in Balasore Art and Craft College on Visual Art. He has done PG in Utkal University of Culture.