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Updated: July 18, 2010 15:39 IST

A special gift awaits Obama

Smriti Kak Ramachandran
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When the U.S. President, Barack Obama, comes visiting India in November, a unique present -- capturing him in many moods -- will await him. An artist from Maharashtra's Aurangabad district wants to present the visiting dignitary a collage of paintings done on grains that can only be seen from under a magnifying glass.

Gajendra Wadhonkar who discovered his “art” serendipitously, met President Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday. “I presented her a picture that has the preamble of the Constitution and the National Anthem written on grains of rice, sesame and mustard in Marathi and enclosed inside the Indian map,” he said.

Impressed by his talent, the President suggested that a similar work of art can be created for Mr. Obama. “Ms. Patil was very impressed with his work and suggested that maybe a collage can be created for the U.S. President and if it is approved we can present it to him from the President's side,” said a Rashtrapati Bhavan aide.

Hoping to secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records and the Limca Book of Records, Mr. Wadhonkar for now is thrilled at having been asked to prepare a “gift” for Mr. Obama. “I am thinking of painting his face on grains, reflecting different moods. I might even do a White House for him.”

Talking about his art that can barely be seen with the naked eye, Mr. Wadhonkar said: “I was helping with the household chores in the kitchen, I picked up a grain of rice and began sketching on it, and before I knew it I was drawing figures, faces and copying texts on grains of mustard, sesame and rice.”

While writing on a grain of rice is not unheard of, Mr. Wadhonkar claims that he can write up to 260 alphabets on a single grain of rice, 75 on a sesame seed and up to 25 on a mustard seed. “I have painted the Golden Temple and all the Sikh Gurus on the grains; those have already been presented at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.”

He showed the President his collection of grains that have the faces of the 10 Sikh Gurus and the entire text of the religious book Sukhmani Sahib printed on rice, mustard and sesame seeds.

“It took 51 days to copy out the entire Sukhmani Sahab on 2472 grains. And since I am doing this for the last four years I can now complete one grain in less than 10 seconds,” said Mr. Wadhonkar, who quit his job as a marketing professional to devote all his time to his “passion”.

His wife Veena, who is of Punjabi origin, helps with the presentation. “She puts together all the grains that I paint and gives them a shape and structure,” he said.

The paintings are done using regular water colour and ink and are coated with glue and a special chemical for protection. Mr. Wadhonkar claims that the art work can withstand dust, high temperature and even water spills.

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