Pralhad Pawar Wazurkar, 33, from the Parbhani district of Maharashtra has chosen an unusual medium for spreading the message of adhering to Corona norms. He makes pebbles talk.
According to Pawar, he is the only artist in his state as well as the country to be using pebbles to send out socially-relevant messages.
One of his artworks shows a female figure wearing a mask and washing hands in a wash basin. Tiny white pebbles have been used to depict water streaming out of the tap. "Corona se Bachein. Jab tak dawai nahin, tab tak dhilayee nahi," reads the caption of the work.
Pawar, a graduate in horticulture from the Vasant Rao Naik Agricultural University, Parbhani, has put up his stall at the ongoing Hunar Haat in the city. "This is for the first time that I am displaying my works in any exhibition. I am thankful to the Government of India for giving me exposure," he has told Free Press.
Another of his work ‘My teacher rocks!’ shows a teacher teaching girls under ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign. Others show a young girl watering a flowering plant and a woman in facemask sweeping the street under ‘Swachh Survekshan 2021. "The idea is to sensitize people about the need to protect plants and to keep their surroundings clean," he says.
Another of his work shows a boy reading a book and is designed to promote reading habits. He has also made a Ganesha and a work titled 'Motherhood' depicting a mother holding her little one.
How did he come to use this unusual medium? Pawar's village is located on the banks of a river. And like everywhere else, children in his village, too, enjoyed digging out pebbles from the sands on the river bank. "Once, it suddenly struck me that these pebbles can be used to create human and non-human figures. I decided to give it a try and presented my first work to an acquaintance who greatly appreciated it. That is how it began," he says.
Pawar uses a special glue, which he procures from Rajasthan, to stick the pebbles on a cloth and then frames the entire thing.
He says that selecting pebbles is the most difficult part of his work. "I first imagine the work in my mind and then start looking for pebbles of suitable size and shape. Sometimes, I have to sift through thousands of pebbles before I can find the right one," he says.
Impressed by his creativity, Deepak Madhukar Muglikar, collector of Parbhani district, has decided to welcome distinguished visitors to the collectorate by presenting his works instead of the usual garlands and bouquets. He was also felicitated by the Guardian Minister of the district. Dr Ashok Dhawan, the vice-chancellor of the Parbhani Agriculture University also encouraged him a lot, he says.
His parents and his wife, Shivmohni Pawar, also help him make the artworks. It takes him about four to five days to complete one. "This is my source of livelihood," he says. As for themes, he draws on his experience of travel through rural Maharashtra during the course of a three-year fellowship on rural development awarded to him.
Pawar is now planning to sell his works online so as to get access to buyers all over the world.