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When art floats down the Brahmaputra

Catch a glimpse of Indrani Baruah’s public art project whose making will be showcased in the city

The saying, “Home is where the heart is”, is perfect for artist Indrani Baruah, as after being dissatisfied with her three professions — visual artist, architect and cultural studies’ scholar — she returned to her roots in Assam through her project, Cultural Re-imaginations.


The raft on the Brahmaputra river. Pic courtesy/Himadri Bhuyan

By artfully constructing a raft on the Brahmaputra River, Baruah hopes that she has taken art to the people. The India Foundation for Arts’ grant winner teamed up with local bamboo artisans and boat-builders in Guwahati to explore the journey, art, food and lots more.


Artworks at display on the raft

Talking about her frustrations, she shares, “As a visual artist, I was working on object art that made me feel extremely isolated. Plus, while being an architect I constantly tried to produce three dimensional art from two dimensional objects.”

Lastly, while studying Cultural Studies at the University of Oregon, her feeling of isolation heightened in an academic set-up, “I wanted to look at things as a free spirit,” she exclaims.

Aptly so, Baruah chose a raft to evoke the idea of a journey, which she banked upon in stage one — she chose bamboo crafts to create a ferry and travelled in north Guwahati, to engage in conversations with the locals.

Artist Indrani Baruah
Artist Indrani Baruah

“I wanted to establish a non-hierarchical space where the difference between art and artisans, art and craft and
high art and low art dissolved,” says Baruah. The unique weave structure of the ferry in the artist’s mind was to let people think of it as various objects — cocoon, waves, tunnel and so on. Currently anchored in the Uzan Bazaar ghat, it is meant to act as a catalyst for the local artists, artisans, writers, environmentalists, teachers and performers. The third stage will let the raft act as a public art space by hosting performances, installation art and a host of other activities. 

On: May 9, 6.30 pm 
At: Somaiya Centre for Lifelong Learning, Somaiya Bhavan, Fort.
Call: 61702270

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