- Monisha Das
Hela Das was selected by California Carvers Guild to represent Assam, India in Channel Island Carvers Ventura Wood Carving Show on March 24th 2012. Her work was strictly judged by other well-known wood carvers from the Southern California, Northern California, Sacramento, and Los Angeles Counties.
The show was strictly judged on the basis of (1) First Artistic Impression, (2) Quality of Work, (3) Use of Materials, (4) Finish, (5) Originality, and (6) Level of Difficulty
Hela Das won two first prizes and the Certificate of Achievement Award selected by attending people. Hela impressed all the judges with her aesthetic carvings of her Mother and Child Relief Carving on Mahogany Wood which is one of the most difficult wood known to carve and Embracing Mermaid carved on Driftwood, which is wood that has been washed onto a shore or beach of a sea or river by the action of winds, tides, waves or man. It is a form of marine debris or tide wrack which is also very hard to carve. Hela carved all these pieces in mere month, upon busy schedules of bonding with her 4 month old grand-daughter in the USA. Hela beat 35 other wood carvers, most consist of men and only 3 women, including Hela Das. It was an amazing and most difficult task to endure. Most American carvers uses power-tools from the start to the finish product, Hela Das only uses her mere chisel and mallet to carve the most strenuous pieces. It is impossible to achieve this endeavor at this age of 68. Her determination and passion is exemplary.
Hela Das is Assam's pride. Many Assamese people from Southern California Assamese Association attended and was impressed by her talent and her hard work. I don't know why talented artist do not get the much needed exposure in India. She deserves our country's attention and needed exposure. Wood carving is a very difficult field.
On her first trip in the US in 2010, her talent was exposed by Mr. Jack Parks is a very well-known wood carver and ex Vice President of California's Carvers Guild. Her show was displayed in Orange County Wood Carving Show in Southern California.
Sujoy Phookan, son of Dr. Gautam Phookan and Dr. Ajanta Goswami from Indiana has been recognized at the statewide and national level for his research project conducted during his first year of medical school at Albany Medical College in Albany, NY. His project examines brain activity in rat models of Parkinson's disease with the goal of developing a new therapeutic drug for the disease. His poster presentation won 2nd place at the New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians meeting in Rochester, NY and won Best Overall Basic Science Presentation at the Eastern-Atlantic Student Research Forum in Miami, FL. Following this he was invited to present his poster at the National Medical Student Research Forum in Galveston, TX, where he won Best Neuroscience Poster Presentation and 3rd place overall in the conference. Sujoy's research has also been awarded the competitive Carolyn L. Kuckein AOA Student Research Fellowship for which he will be funded for 8-full time weeks of continued work on his project this summer.