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SSR lives on - a wax ode by artist Susanta Ray

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on 27 days ago

© Courtesy of internet resources

As the nation, nay the world, mourns the tragic and untimely demise of an immensely talented actor Sushant Singh Rajput, we at The Future Of Design applaud the work of a sculptor from Asansol, West Bengal – Susanta Ray – who has quietly brought the actor and his endearing smile, back to life in wax!

While online petitions demanding a wax statue of the late actor to be installed in Madame Tussaud’s Museum have been gaining popularity, the immensely talented sculptor Susanta Ray has paid tribute to the brilliant actor by creating a life-size wax model. The Wax India Museum, founded by Ray himself, in Asansol, has SSR’s statue on display since the 17th of September 2020.

Sushant’s wax statue is dressed in a style that was quite typical of the charming actor - black jeans, white tee-shirt and denim jacket, complemented with white sneakers and a wristwatch. The twinkling eyes and million-dollar smile have been beautifully captured; and one feels a tug at the heartstrings, each time one sees an image of the statue!

Ray, a gold medallist from Indian Art College in Kolkata, began creating sculptures in 1980. He has since founded wax museums in Asansol and Kolkata and his works are displayed in these as well as other museums in Goa and Jaipur.

Usually sculptors take detailed measurements of a person before crafting a life-size statue. However the 64-year old artist had never met Sushant Singh Rajput! “I made his wax statue only by seeing his photographs. Also, the statue has been made after his death, so the question of taking measurements doesn’t arise. It has a height of 5 feet 10 inches, waist is 34 inches and weighs approximately 22kg,” informs Ray.

The resemblance, however, is striking - don't you think?! Indeed, a labour of love, and as the artist himself says, "I share my first name with Sushant and we both are artists. I am a sculptor and he was an actor. That is how I connected with him while making his statue. Because if you don’t get into a person’s character while making their statue, you cannot bring life in it.” 

“First we do a research on our subject, we look at their photographs and watch videos and observe the subject keenly and take measurements (when possible). We then start by building a full-size clay model with a steel frame for the body. Then a plaster mould of the face and head is created. Then comes the stage of removing the plaster mould from the clay model. After that we fill mould with hot wax and let it cool. After few hours, you get a thick layer of wax and the plaster mold is removed. Once the basics are done, we use some tools that help us make the fine details, for example, the wrinkles on the forehead. For some we use hand-painted acrylic, while for others many layers of oil paint is applied. Finally, hair, clothing are added to complete the figures," explains Ray, about the process of creating wax statues.

Each statue, he says, takes about 400 hours to make! Susanta Ray has previously made wax statues of other famous personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhashchandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mother Teresa, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Pranab Mukherjee, Dr. Abdul Kalam, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

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