Skip to content Skip to navigation

Voyage in Brahamaputra

There is no height of imagination for artists, all are artists in their own right. However there are exceptional people who like to do things in an exceptional way, share the idea with others and allowing interpretation at the same time. The “AMPHIBIAN” a boat conceptualised by artist, cultural researcher and creative director, Indrani Baruah that sailed in the Brahamaputra gave immense pleasure to the onlookers and inquisitiveness to learn about the boat that cruised from Uzanbazar Ghat to Sualkuchi with 32 people on board. However the journey for all must have been the slowest journey ever taken in their life till date. The raft travelled along the water was hardly one-kilometer-per-hour, and it took almost six hours to reach Sualkuchi form the start.

The design of the boat is all about re-imagining culture by the artist herself. The boat is based on the structure of “MELENG” (Bamboo rafts, that are in used in River Brahamaputra ferrying tons of Bamboos for selling,tied together forming a raft structure that moves on the river with the flow) The ”Amphibian” is also made using all bamboo and a finely designed bamboo structure above, while using thermocol at the base to help the boat float. The concept of totally using natural products is sending the message of environmental safety, no use of fossil fuel related to it . For those the people traditionally ferrying bamboos using a raft like structure has played a great role to the contribution of environment safety that has inspired Indrani Baruah. The designed raft took almost two months to get to the proper shape, design, and a trial before making the final journey from Guwahati to Sualkuchi on 21st April. The entire Project is supported by India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) Bangalore.

“I am an artist, I do not define myself in terms of gender” Says Indrani Baruah, when asked about her comfort to work with men folks. This encouraging lines are enough to boost the morale of women folk working in their own fields of interests.

On board during the journey , were artists from various fields, including Professor Uday Kumar, who designed the symbol of the Indian Rupee, besides Aiyushman Dutta (journalist-critic-cultural activist), Alak Bharali (bamboo craftsman), Bhaskar Barua (architect-designer), Biplab Goswami (bamboo artisan), Dilip Tamuly (teacher - installation artist - folklorist), Dhruba Jyoti Dutta (photo-journalist), Indrani Baruah (visual artist-architect-cultural researcher), Jyoti Prasad Das (North Guwahati resident and advisor),Kiran (new media and film), Lueit Parasar Hazarika (architect and musician) Manoj Das (travel guide and bhot- bhoti driver), Masfique Hazarika (environmental researcher-activist), Ranel Das (architect-designer), Shilpika Bordoloi (movement artist), Sonal Jain (media practitioners),Budi Thapa, (artist) and visiting fiction writer and art critic, Moushumi Kandali.

While on journey various artists perforemd music, dance, besides discussions on the environment and preserving River Brahamaputra, and exchanging personal views about the changing environemtel scenario. Ask Budi Thapa, about the unique journey, “ The journey is wonderful, Peace, harmony should always be the message of the artists.”says the veteran artist from Kohima.

Cultural Re-imaginations is a series of interventions conceived as an ongoing experiment in challenging the traditional boundaries between art and architecture, artist and artisan, crafts and arts and towards developing a new, critically engaged hybrid practice that integrates cultural history, architectural traditions and current environmental concerns of the northeast India and beyond, along with creating provocative art that leads to unanticipated interdisciplinary convergence.The imminent shortages of land, water and energy continue to increase the pressure to find innovative solutions, especially in communities that live in close proximity to the natural environment. Employing a raft structure and a series of 'unscripted' performative journeys on one of Asia's major rivers – The Brahmaputra.

"Cultural Re-imaginations II" (2nd part) will explore creative approaches with which communities can coexist with natural environments. During Cultural Re- imaginations II, a floating-habitable raft (Amphibian) has been developed based on the sustainable principles of the itinerant vernacular bamboo rafts (melengs) used in this region on the river Brahmaputra. This is a latent, but extraordinary mode of transporting bamboo all year round by indigenous communities on the river Brahmaputra by using only the power of the river. The new experimental raft has been conceptualized as a potential 'sustainable habitat' that can be anchored like a boat or a ferry. The construction of the raft structure involved collaborative work between bamboo artisans, boat-builders, raft workers and artists.This cultural intervention is intentionally ephemeral and is intended to evoke universal, temporary, mobile, vernacular habitats with minimal environmental impacts as well as cultural forms inherent to this region.

Author info

Peter Alex Todd's picture

Journalist, musician.

Add new comment

Random Stories

Delay In Declaration B.Ed Results Causes anxiety among teacher aspirants

2 Mar 2012 - 5:12am | Ritupallab Saikia
The B.Ed results of 2010-11 under Gauhati University has not been declared yet thereby causing a lot of anxiety among the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) qualified candidates. It is noteworthy that...

Cleanliness is next to godliness

17 Jun 2014 - 11:53am | Lalremlien Neitham
The North East Students Society Delhi University (NESSDU) organised a one-day cleanliness drive programme recently with the theme “I Love Delhi University” rececntly where many students from North...

Steps to tackle flood erosion

10 Nov 2012 - 4:53am | editor
The Planning Commission has cleared a huge Rs 14.49 crore flood control scheme for Kamrup Rural district. The project will involve the dyke of the river Brahmaputra river from Gumi to Kalatoli. The...

Book on Ahom History released

27 Jan 2016 - 5:58pm | AT News
2nd edition of "Brihot Tai Jati - Ahom Buranji", a book on the Ahom kingdom written by historian, lawyer and social worker Late Rameswar Bora of Jorhat, was released by by Dr. B.K. Gohain,...

Other Contents by Author

Following a week-long inspection tour of the six venues chosen for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, and with less than 200 days to go until the footballing talents of the future compete on the pitch, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) have released the official match schedule and unveiled the tournament slogan. The tournament will start in New Delhi and Navi Mumbai with the first double headers being held on 6 October. The quarter-finals will be in Goa, Guwahati, Kochi and Kolkata, while Guwahati and Navi Mumbai will host the semi-finals. The final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 will be held in Kolkata’s iconic Salt Lake Stadium.
Prominent layers, human rights activities goverment officials of India and Myanmar rubbed shoulders recently at Myanmar where they fine tuned a slew of measures to firmly deal with human trafficcking. The culsultation was held to establish a standard operating procedure (sop) on providing, assistance & protection to victims of trafficking in human beings at Naypyi Taw on June 16-18 and Yangon, Myanmar on June 18-20. The Indo-Myanmar Consultation on developing Standard Operating Procedure to address Cross Border Human Trafficking was participated by Law Enforcement Agencies of the two countries to view and resolve the challenges of assisting human trafficking survivors and those who...
There is rare dose of good news for the AIDS patients on the planet. Courtesy Dr Dhaniram Baruah. After many years of intense research, the genetic engineer claimed to have cured the dreaded disease. That too with only five injections.Dr Baruah on Wednesday paraded before the media Vijender Singh, who revealed that he is out of danger. The middle aged man from Haryana claimed recovery after he was attended by the controversial genetic engineer. Dr. Baruah further got released two volume of his epoch making books on AIDS Reaching the Unreachable with Baruah Combat Genes” by Vijender Vijendra Singh told reporters that some seven years back he had come to know about Dr. Baruah and...
Assam buys yet another bad name. A farmer died after self-immolation attempt in Dispur on Monday. That too because of land patta. The man in the centre of shock is Pramode Boro. The 45 year old carpenter by profession from Gorchuk took this extreme and unprecedented step sending shockwaves across the state. It was on Monday. The clock struck at 9-50. All of a sudden, he got down from a vehicle in front of Dispur state secretariat. Immediately after landing in the public place, Pramod whose dress was wet with kerosene set himself on fire with the match he had in his pocket in full view of the security forces. Immediately after it blazing fire engulfed him entirely. Blankets and water were...
Following the hue and cry after media reporting on the death of a woma at Lakhimpur with as "rape and murder" media,s own conclusion before the official report had not only tarnish the image of the state but has forced to ask the credibility of the Media, especially the National media, however not generalising all the National or local media. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that " Every News paper has a responsibility, without verifying one should make sensational news, they can wait for a day, this sensational news creates distrust,leads to violence, so media or anybody should not come to conclusion without verifying the fact,particular responsible people of the nation, i am...
Assam produces 55% of India's total tea production. However, producers of Assam tea do not sell their tea through the Guwahati Tea auction centre which is a big concern for Assam tea. "We are giving agriculture subsidy of 6% and levying only 0.5 % Tax, yet the tea producers are not selling tea from Guwahati Tea Auction Centre", said Industry Minister Pradyut Bordoloi, at a press conference on Tuesday held at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre. The industry department has been trying to woo producers to sell their tea through the GTAC, so that the standard of the Assam tea can be judged and thus promoting Assam tea.The GTAC was established in 1970, with lots of aspirations for Assam Tea, but...
BJP's National spokesperson Tarun Vijay  addressed a press conference in Guwahati on Tuesday, where he said that the city of Guwahati and Shillong should be developed as a International knowledge hub of Science and Technology for East Asia and South East Asia. Vijay stated that the pool of talents of North Eastern states have not been given bigger platform nor infrastructure in sports and education by the Government for so long. As a result, there is huge drainage of talents to different parts of the country. Many young people due to lack of platform chooses the wrong path. "I want that all political party should come together leaving behind their political ideas for infrastructure...
The Narengi Army public school in Guwahati, will soon a have a full fledged football stadium in the Name of "Bir Chilarai", the great general of the 15th Century Koch dynasty.The foundation stone of the stadium in the Army School premises on Saturday, was laid by General G S Chima, HQ 51, who is also the patron of the school. Along with was present Indrajeet Saikia, the President of Koach Yuba Chatra Parishad. On this occasion a book on Bir Chilarai was also released.Speaking to the gathering of students the general had asked the students to read about Bir Chilarai, who know for his fast movement the prey bird "Kite", He added " I am aware that football runs in the blood of the people of...
An Indian Army contingent of 160 member landed in Guwahati Airport on Thursday after ending a 10-day-long joint military exercise with the Chinese counterpart. Brigadier D S Shisodia, who led the team for the joint anti-terrorism training exercise at Miaergong of Sinchuan Province, southwest of China, said that it was good experience all together with professional interaction and good training on counter terrorism It will boost the relation of the two nations. "I hope it will promote regional tranquility along the border and improve mutual trusts". He added.Code-named 'Hand-in-Hand 2013', the joint training session included demonstration of weapons, physical training, handling IED, exchange...
May it be insurgency, rebel groups or their factions, everyone now seems to be getting more into amassing funds rather than anything serious. Bargaining for peace seems away from finding the light at the end of the tunnel.What eludes people in general is whether all the peace deals come to an fruitful end. If experts are to be believed there is a long way to go and the new groups are more into money-making.“They are all bunch of goons and thus there is no point talking to these factional groups”, said Wasbir Hussain, at a seminar entitled “Peace Audit North East”, held in Guwahati jointly organized by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi and the Centre for...