Michael Jackson statue from India could grace Neverland
Friday 5th February, 2010 (IANS)
Over seven months after his death, Michael Jackson is etched in the hearts of millions of fans – and also in 12 feet of black granite that its maker plans to ship to the late king of pop’s Neverland Ranch in California.
The statue is drawing curious crowds at the ninth International Granites & Stone Fair being held in the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (AIEC), about 20 km from here.
‘It’s a personal tribute to the greatest pop singer of our times! He lives in our hearts as he was on stage for years,’ R. Chandrasekaran, managing director of RC Golden Granites Ltd, told IANS.
As a diehard follower of the American singer who died suddenly June 25 last year, Chandrasekaran, 40, plans to gift the 3.5-tonne statue carved out of black granite to Jackson’s estate in California.
Jackson’s sprawling estate is located at the Neverland Valley Ranch in Santa Barbara County. The rock singer lived there from 1988 to 2005.
‘I have written to Jackson’s family that I want to donate the statue for installing it in his famous estate. I will bear the freight charge, which is about $2,500,’ an elated Chandrasekaran said, while spectators thronged his company’s stall to touch and feel the legendary singer in awe.
The Chennai-based granite firm spent a whopping $25,000 (Rs.1.2 million) in sculpting the statue out of a single block of huge rock that was quarried from a mine near Kanakapura, about 50 km from Bangalore.
‘We employed six artisans to chisel the granite into Jackson’s shape in 45 days at our factory in Kancheepuram. As black granite is brittle, the aesthetic art work was a test of patience, diligence and skill. His face and eyes were the most challenging as we wanted the statue to be expressive and poignant,’ Chandrasekaran said.
The company plans to ship the statue to the US west coast by next month after the family’s consent in writing for securing clearances.
This is not the first time the four-year-old export firm has carved a statue for an icon, as it had sculpted a skeleton in black and white granite last year in aid of the campaign against smoking launched by former central health minister Anbumani Ramadoss.
‘We specialise in sculpting exquisite monuments, statutes and other artefacts carved out of granite rocks, which are the oldest geological formations on earth. All our creations are exported to European customers on order,’ Chandrasekaran noted.
The skeleton statute, seated on black granite and titled ‘Hell’s Preferred Citizen’, was displayed at the Granite Monument Stone Fair in February 2009 in Chennai and at a fair against tobacco products in Mumbai, March 2009.
‘The statue, dedicated to the anti-smoking campaign, has been installed at Nirman Bhavan in New Delhi where the health ministry is housed,’ Chandrasekaran noted.
As a music lover, Chandrasekaran also plans to create a statue dedicated to music maestro A.R. Rahman, who won two Oscars and two Grammys for the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.
‘We will take Rahman’s consent for making a granite statue in a pose and colour of his choice. At such a young age, he has brought so much fame and acclaim to our country from the world over,’ Chandrasekaran said.
Besides Jackson’s statue, the four-day expo during Feb 4-7 is showcasing a Taj Mahal and a statue of Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in granite created and displayed by other companies.