The Denver-based Sorcar is behind the ‘Swamiji’ project.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: Manick Sorcar, the engineer-turned-artist who has spent a career exploring ways to use new technologies as an art form, has been honored for his innovative use of lasers to educate youngsters about India’s national and cultural history.
The honor was given by the International Laser Display Association (ILDA) in the form of a Special Achievement Award for Cultural Enlightenment, which Sorcar received for his “exceptional merit in using laser display to celebrate India’s heritage.”
The award also cites Sorcar’s efforts to create a course focused specifically on laser art and animation, and his establishing of the Manick Sorcar Laser Animation Laboratory at the Jadavpur University in West Bengal, as achievements that contributed to him deserving the award.
Dirk Baur, the president of MediaLas Electronics GmbH, presented Sorcar with the award. Sorcar said that the award was particularly special to him because it was recognizing his efforts to spread cultural awareness of his home country to other people.
This is the third time Sorcar has won an award from the ILDA; the previous two times, he won the organization’s Artistic Award. In 2006, the ILDA awarded him for his work entitled “Enlightenment of Buddha,” in which Sorcar utilized laser animation, three-dimensional imagery, and live performance elements to tell the story of the Buddha. Two years later, he won for his laser art piece called “Reflection.”
A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology Varanasi (formerly Banaras Hindu University), Sorcar earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, then earned his Masters degree in the same field from the University of Washington.
For many years, he was CEO and president of Sorcar Engineering, a Denver, Colorado-based firm that does electrical engineering and lighting for large-scale complexes like airports and sports arenas. He retired from that position last year, and has since then devoted more time to his laser art pursuits, such as his Swami Vivekananda laser tribute entitled “Swamiji,” which toured India for four months and is currently touring the US as a fund-raiser for SEWA International.
A life-long patron of the arts, Sorcar has held exhibitions of his work for decades, dating back to his days in Seattle while earning his Masters degree. Along with his wife and two daughters, he currently lives in an 8,000 square-foot residence in Denver that has influences of Mughal art and architecture.
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