Pebble by pebble, this Parbhani-based artist does his bit to spread awareness on Covid

Prahlad Pawar collects pebbles from the banks of the Godavari and arranges them to make designer frames on social themes.

‘Beti bachao, beti padhao’, ‘Har ghar jal’, ‘Namami Gange’, ‘Hunar hai to Kadar Hai’ – while we are familiar with street murals and posters that announce several governmental schemes to the public, a Parbhani-based artist is busy bringing some of them to life using a unique medium – pebbles.

Prahlad Pawar collects pebbles he finds along the banks of the river Godavari and, after careful curation, arranges them to make designer frames. “Through art, I wish to spread awareness and take forward social messages to as many people as possible,” he says.

While his work earlier depicted the government’s campaigns, it now focuses on Covid – spreading awareness on social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks.

His wife and elderly parents too chip in. “We maintain a stock of pebbles collected from river banks and use them as needed,” says his father Bhagwan Pawar.

“Parbhani continues to remain backward, but there are some natural things which need appreciation. Through my art, I hope to bring some recognition to the place,” says the pebble artist, who hails from Wazur village.

It was a three-year Maharashtra Chief Minister fellowship, which ended in 2020, that inspired him to take up social work using art, says Pawar, who now owns Shrishti Pebble Art.

A regular pebble art frame measuring 9×12 inches takes up to three days and the ideas are original. “Once a theme is set, I look for the right pebble from my collection – the size, shape and its position in the design. I use uncut pebbles and utilise its natural shape,” he explains. The making charges range between Rs 1,000 to 1,200, and Pawar sells them at prices starting from Rs 1,500.

He has also represented the state at the Hunar Haat, an exhibition organised by the Ministry of Minority Affairs in Bhopal.

While the pandemic has played spoilsport and slowed sales, Pawar is hopeful that the government will come forward to help artists like him pull through.

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