Artist on peace mission to etch nonstop for 48 hrs
Apuraj Barooah etches on his canvas at Guwahati trade fair on Sunday. Picture by Eastern Projections

Guwahati, March 8: With a shaving blade for a brush and black bromide paper for canvas, Apuraj Barooah today set off on a peace mission of a different kind.

For the next 48 hours, he will etch traditional and folk dance forms of 170 countries on the 120-metre bromide paper without a pause to spread the message of peace.

The 39-year-old, who gave up a government job 10 years ago to dedicate himself to painting, began his marathon sketching on the bromide canvas laid on a table at the Assam Engineering Institute ground at Chandmari today.

The platform is being provided by the Industries and Trade Fair Association of Assam, the organisers of the 16th International Guwahati Trade Fair.

“Art, dance and music know no barrier. All the mediums bind people together and it is through this painting that I am appealing for peace. Whether it is the Bihu dance of Assam or the Calypso dance of the West Indies and Kujawiak dance of Poland, all these can make us forget our differences and celebrate life in peace and harmony,” Barooah told reporters this afternoon.

Apart from dance forms of Thailand, China, Korea, Australia, Russia, England and some other European countries, Barooah said it would be the only painting in which Indian folk dances, Indian classical dances and other regional dance forms would be placed on a single platform.

More than 200 dance forms, including Bihu from Assam, bardo chham of Arunachal Pradesh, bhangra from Punjab, rouf of Kashmir, ghumar of Rajasthan, garba of Gujarat, lambadi of Andhra Pradesh, chhau of Orissa and ballet and salsa will find place in the painting.

“My painting is different. It is done with a blade on glossy black bromide paper and the end product is a painting. Initially I used water, oil and pencil as a medium for my paintings. In 1993, I casually painted something with oil on a bromide paper. I noticed that it did not dry and I even tried to rub it with a cloth. Then an idea struck me and I started scratching with a pin. I discovered that this could be made a unique medium of painting and I slowly started using blades,” he said.

A large number of visitors to the International Guwahati Trade Fair had their eyes glued on Barooah’s “scratch painting”.

Painter Noni Borpujari said Barooah’s was a novel initiative and that he had selected the right medium of expression to send across his message of peace.

Praising Barooah’s effort, he said painting for 48 hours with a blade was an excruciatingly difficult job.

A spokesperson for the Industries and Trade Fair Association of Assam said once done, Barooah’s painting would be sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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