Yes I’m back in India ! I have been here only 2 nights and coming back to the place I’m staying last night stumbled across this street, about 100m from my place of rest. This street is known locally as Hollywood, I imagine for it’s kitsch explosion of excessive theatrical creativity.
Apparently this community of artisans in the 70’s and 80’s sculpted a very popular kind of totem that many people used as grave stones (if I understood correctly) When this particular form of sculpture became unfashionable, local artists taught them to make molds and sculpt plaster of Paris. From then on they began to mold and sculpt exclusively models of Ganesh. Luckily we are just coming up to the festival of Ganesh in about 2 weeks . At which point these finely spray painted gods will be purchased transported by pilgrims to the sea and rivers and promptly thrown in.
When I asked what they did the rest of the year, I was told that although they are very skilled and talented they are also very lazy and spend the rest of the year begging.
There is one cautionary footnote to this exuberant expression of artfulness. The vast numbers of these gaudy idols that are thrown into the sea and river all at the same time exfoliating their toxic spray paint and creating a considerable amount of pollution . So great is the problem that some enterprising artisans in Bombay have begun to present eco version painted with non polluting paints