Kharsang: Across the world, people have picked up various hobbies to tackle the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic. For some, the extended lockdown has made them go to the kitchen with renewed vigour, while others are dabbling in arts like dance, painting, or even gardening. 

For one young boy from the ‘last village of Arunachal Pradesh’, the lockdown turned into a period of spreading positivity with portraits made of charcoal.

In a matter of weeks, Jonathan Wangpan has become a social media star among Arunachal Pradesh residents with portraits made of charcoal on ceiling boards. “I used to draw cartoons on paper as a child. The lockdown provided me with enough free time to hone my skill,” says the 23-year-old from Longtom village in Changlang district.

His creations have been shared widely across multiple social media platforms these days. 

“I am happy that I can spread some happiness during these depressing days”, says Wangpan, who studies at the Servanthood Bible School, Dimapur. “My lacklustre life in the past took me towards all kinds of bad habits, because of which I failed my Class 12 examinations. I did not want to go back to my bad past by letting my mind idle away during the lockdown. I looked for inspiration on YouTube, and a few ideas inspired me to take up charcoal portraits paintings. I did not expect at all the love and appreciation I receive these days,” says the teenager.

His portraits of famous personalities like Mr Bean, Snoop Dogg, Kiren Rijiju have won the hearts of many in Arunachal Pradesh and across the northeast region.

Speaking about the tools he used to create his work, he says, “Working with charcoal and pencils helps easily rub off what I make and to create another. I do not have the budget to buy ceiling boards every day.”

Explaining how he chooses his subjects for drawing, Wangpan explains, “My primary aim is to make people happy as they are worried and anxious about the situation outside. I choose my subjects to bring a smile to people’s face. Portraits of famous personalities and people with humorous traits are my primary subjects as they can make an immediate connection with the people.”

Asked what he is planning next, the Arunachal charcoal artist says, “I would love to do a portrait of our Hon’ble Chief Minister Pema Khandu. Most probably, that will be my next project.”

His talent has also helped him lighten his financial burden. Impressed with his work, Devansh Yadav, the Deputy Commissioner of Changlang District, offered Wangpan a drawing assignment. A few others have also asked the youngster to draw for their office and workplace. 

Many have reacted positively to his works on social media, and more than 2,000 people have shared his work on multiple social media platforms.

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