Renowned Assam artist Neel Pawan Baruah no more

Neel Pawan Baruah
Neel Pawan Baruah

Neel Pawan Baruah, one of the most widely respected figures in the field of art and culture of Assam, died at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital in Guwahati following a prolonged illness, on October 28.

He was 84. His wife, an eminent singer and Padma Shri awardee Dipali Borthakur, had predeceased him.

In back-to-back days, Assam lost two of its prominent figures related to the field of art and culture. Veteran actor Nipon Goswami died on the other day.

Baruah was admitted to the hospital on September 22 due to various old age-related ailments and he breathed his last this afternoon, doctors attending to him said.

Neel Pawan Baruah was born in Jorhat to Assam’s eminent poet Binanda Chandra Baruah and Labanya Prava Baruah.

An alumnus of Santiniketan’s Kala Bhawan, Baruah was a multifaceted artist whose works included poetry, pottery, painting, and mask-making.

He studied glazed ceramics in Sriniketan after receiving his degree in fine arts, and he also worked for a while at the Garhi Studio in New Delhi.

An artist who frequently played with various media, Baruah has left behind a rich legacy of sketching on cigarette packets and matchboxes that have been shown at numerous exhibitions in the state and across the nation.

He briefly taught at the Government Art School in Guwahati after his return from Santiniketan before founding the Assam Fine Arts and Craft Society in 1971.

Baruah went on to set up an art school at his residence where children from far and near were taught art in an informal manner without any fixed method but encouraging them to improve their paintings in their own style and ways.

Baruah, who had made a defining and distinct contribution to Assam’s contemporary art movement, had his work displayed at various places across the country.

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