On the occasion of Independence Day, a Chennai artist is attempting to enter the Guinness World Records (GWR) by painting Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait using coffee.
Sivaraman Rajalingam’s painting measures 2020 square feet in keeping with the year and it is not one giant figure but a huge amalgamation of 74 faces of the Father of the Nation. He managed to finish his huge artwork in 22 hours 30 minutes. The current record for the largest painting made using coffee is held by Alex Dzaghigian (Cyprus) in association with 300 Spartans+ Superjump, from Greece, which measures 158.37 square-meters (1704 sqft).
While he has most likely broken the previous world record, an official confirmation from the GWR authorities is awaited. Photos and videos of Sivaraman’s coffee painting has already taken social media by storm.
Talking to indianexpress.com, Sivaraman, who is an art teacher at Hindustan International School (HIS), Guindy, said it would have been impossible without the support of the school to achieve the tremendous feat. “I had reached out to the GWR before the pandemic about this project, however, soon things went awry and I thought I have to cancel the event. But thanks to the support of the school management, this was made possible in such a time,” the 34-year-old artist said over the telephone. (Read the story in Tamil)
Talking about the idea behind the project, he said it was done to create awareness among the students about India’s struggle for freedom and highlight the sacrifices of our freedom fighters. “Of course, when talking about the Indian freedom movement, the first name that comes to one’s mind is that of Gandhi. However, amid the lockdown, as the school is shut, at one point I thought, what’s the point to paint without the targeted audience (students), but the school management gathered their forces and made it possible for everyone to see,” he added.
To create the giant painting on a big canvas, the school’s ground was chosen. The endeavour to paint alone, non-stop over a period of 24 hours, started around 6 am on August 14 and the task was to be completed by August 15 early morning for the Independence Day celebrations. However, Sivaraman finished his work almost two hours before he the set deadline.
But he is no stranger to such world records. Sivaraman, who graduated from the College of Fine Arts, Chennai in 2009, already holds a record in Limca Book of World Records for La Pieta Jesus art, where one can read the complete Bible verses. It took him 72 days (864 hours) to complete this art.
Using 22 kg of expired coffee powder, which was no longer consumable, he singlehandedly painted all the figures in hues of brown mixing the coffee powder with water. “Normally, only one kind of coffee is used in such paintings. But I have used three different shades of brown coffees. By adjusting the brewing temperature, and adding adequate quantity of water, I attained desired shades for the painting, ensuring proper highlighting and bring forth the minute detailing you see,” he said.
Mohammed Zabiullah Hamid, of HIS Media team, told indianexpress.com that the final painting was an end result of his work for several months. “For the last three months, we have been working closely with him to provide all the support he needed. From procuring coffee to setting up the camera to record the mammoth task, we have been there with him”. The school arranged for all the coffee powder needed for the project from Thangam coffee traders in Kodambakkam.
“In our long legacy of 50 years, we always strive to promote nationalism and patriotism, along with promoting talents. We are extremely proud of his achievements,” Hamid added.
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