01/20/2006, 00.00
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Indian painter blends Biblical and Hindu imagery, wants to enter Guinness World Records

by Nirmala Carvalho
Edwin Parmar wants to complete a huge fresco by February that brings together Biblical and Hindu elements. His large mural could enter the Guinness World Records.

Ahmedabad (AsiaNews) – Painter Edwin Parmar is turning a huge canvas into a monumental work of art in which Christ, Hindu gods and Indian traditions blend. The Indian artist has been working non-stop since December driven by a desire to spread the Christian message of love and brotherhood.

Mr Parmar is from the town of Kalol, 40 kilometres from Gujarat's main city of Ahmedabad, and hopes to put the finishing touches to his work by February.

Spending on average 16 hours per day working, he has painted so far 112 metres (365 ft) of the 143 (470 ft) planned. He is hopeful that his efforts might get his name into the Guinness World Records.

He got the idea for this larger-than-life painting from a question: "What would be Christ's life if he had been born in an Indian village?" Parmar found his answer in a synthesis of Indian and western cultures. Thus, in his painting Mary wears a sari and Hindu God Rama interacts with Christ. But Biblical themes remain central to the work.

"I am saying that religions have no boundaries and my paintings' essential message is peace," Parmar said.

The artist and his wife Elise are footing the bill for the work of art. She even sold her jewellery to finance her husband's cause.

The local Church and Christian associations are helping a lot, and an appeal to generous donors has been made to cover the huge costs.

In an interview with AsiaNews, Fr Babu Joseph, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and director of its Media Communications, said: "We appreciate Edwin Parmar and congratulate him for his exemplary work in presenting and promoting the message of the Gospel in a novel and creative way. . . . His efforts to present the Gospel in an Indian art form are welcomed.

"We hope his labour of love encourages others to follow his path," Father Babu explained. "His zeal to spread the message of peace and brotherhood around the world is to be commended." And last but not least, "through his unique work of art, we hope that the diversity of Indian culture [. . .] will gain global visibility."

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