The wax museum in Ludhiana you have been laughing at is a tale of inspiration

Look before you tweet.

 |  2-minute read |   03-04-2018
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Beauty, they say, lies in the eyes of the beholder. After ANI posted pictures of statues from a wax museum in Ludhiana on Monday, Twitterati could find little beauty in them, but they did seem to accord many joy forever.   

The statues, admittedly, are not exact likenesses of the personalities they are modelled after, and people brightened up a Monday by coming up with creative captions for many of the statues.

However, not many paid attention to the fact that Prabhakar’s Wax Museum is a private museum, run entirely on the initiative of one person.

As Chandra Shekhar Prabhakar, the museum owner, told Times Now: “At Madame Tussauds wax museum, they have access to celebrities and they make their statues from measurements taken from their faces and figures. But I make these statues from single dimension pictures, which is a challenging job. The museum is my contribution from my limited resources.”

A journalist, Swati Goel Sharma, also wrote on Twitter that she knew 71-year-old Prabhakar personally, and he “took up this hobby way back in 2005 after a heart surgery. His motive was to keep himself engaged”.

His museum now has statues of more than 52 personalities, including Sachin Tendulkar, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Narendra Modi, Mother Teresa, and Kapil Sharma.

After Sharma’s post, many people admitted to feeling guilty at having made fun of the statues.

The story shows exactly what is problematic with the way we engage with social media – quick to react to whatever is thrown at us, without pausing to reflect on causes, costs or context.

Making wax statues, like any other art, is a complex process and requires years of training under qualified guidance. Prabhakar’s work is a product of his passion, and whatever resources were available to him. Seen in that light, the statues are beautiful and inspirational.

Another factor worth examining is how often meanness passes for humour, and the extra caustic edge that social media lends to conversation. People who gleefully posted and retweeted wisecracks about the statue would probably never say the same things to the artist in person.

Did people assume that the trolling would never reach the artist, or are we comfortable hurting and crushing someone as long as we don’t have to deal with their reaction?

Every artist, once he puts his work in public, is admittedly opening it up to the views of his audience, readers, viewers, for praise as well as brickbats. However, art, like people, is a product of its circumstances, and in order to be valid, any criticism needs to be informed of this.

Prabhakar’s statues are products of an industrious mind and the will to learn, and deserve to be appreaciated. For now, they can serve people as reminder to look before they tweet.

Also read: Why cheating sports icons hurt fans so much

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