Hari also made the first 3D mosaic portrait in the country on October 2, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, this year.

Man playing with Rubik's cube Image courtesy: Hariprasad CM/Instagram
news Human Interest Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 12:16

Thrissur-based Hariprasad is a ‘cubist’ and takes several days to complete each piece of art. However, these have nothing to do with Pablo Picasso or the school of Cubism. In fact, the 30-year-old is a Rubik’s cube solver, who started using the cubes to make intricate mosaic portraits. And now, he also creates commissioned Rubik’s cube that he sells. 

On October 2, this year, Hari made his first ever three-dimensional mosaic portrait using 547 Rubik’s cubes. His art installation was a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, on the latter’s 151st birth anniversary. It took Hari about 12 hours to perfect the art work that was about three metres square in total area. 

“I believe this is the first such 3D mosaic portrait to be made in Kerala, perhaps even the country. In order to create it, I had to get a portrait of the person and then blow it up to match the proportions of the artwork. The pixelated and enlarged portrait then serves as the base on which I place the Rubik’s cube. But before that, I turn the colours on the portrait to the Rubik’s cube colours so that it is easier to create the images,” Hari adds. 


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A six-sided Rubik’s Cube has red, green, blue, yellow, white and orange as the standard colours. Hari mixes up these colours in order to bring as much details as possible in the portrait. The 30-year-old has also done a massive Rubik’s cube portrait of Mata Amritanandamayi (a Hindu spiritual leader), as well as that of actor Aparna Balamurali, with whom he had a tutorial video to encourage young children to take up cubing as a hobby and use it to make art. He also made a pookalam (flower carpet) for Onam 2020 using only Rubik's cubes. 

While foraying into the arts space is new for Hari, he has no newbie to the world of Rubik’s cubes and cube-solving. From the age of 19, when he made his first solve (first time he solved a 6-sided-cube), Hari has been hooked to the world of speed-cubing. 

“I got my first Rubik’s cube as a gift back in 2000. I was barely 10 years old then and didn’t pay any attention to the cube. A decade passed by and one day I happened to pick up the cube,” Hari explains. The then 19-year-old watched YouTube and online tutorials on cube-solving and before he knew it, made his first solve. October 2, 2020, when he completed the Gandhi portrait, also marked a decade since Hari solved his first cube. 

As he got more hooked to solving the cubes, Hari also began registering for cubing competitions across India. In 2011, he registered but missed one such contest by a hair’s breadth. It was hosted by the World Cubing Association or WCA, which is the official body conducting cubing championships across the world. 

“The WCA competition was in Chennai in 2011. I arrived slightly late for the event and ended up not being able to participate. However, I made a friend named Bhargav Narasimhan at the event, and when I hosted the first ever WCA competition in Kerala the very next year, I invited Bhargav to participate,” Hari says. 

Bhargav went on to break the India record for speed-cubing and is currently the Asia record holder. Meanwhile, Hari went on to host two more Rubik’s cube contests in the state and train young men and women in speed-cubing.  The World Cubing Association recognises 10 ways of cubing for competitions. These include 2x2 cubes, 3x3 cubes and up to 7x7 cubes, Rubik’s Pyraminx (pyramid shaped puzzles), the megaminx - which is a 12-sided (dodecahedron) puzzle that is similar to the Rubik's cube, a skewb cube (another variation of the Rubik’s cube), a cube 21 or square 1 cube (which is a shape-shifting, three layered, twisty puzzle). Cubing events held by the WCA include blindfolded solve, one handed solve, one handed solving of a 3x3 cube, blindfolded solving of 3x3, 4x4 and 5x5 cubes. 

Hari has taught at least 30 budding cubers, some of whom have gone on to break existing cubing records in India. Hari is also a marketing team member of WCA. 

Currently, working as a research assistant in the Mechanical Engineering department at Amrita University, Hari devotes all his free time to teach online cubing classes to children. 

“With COVID-19 and the lockdown, a lot of children are at home with no creative or productive outlet. They are spending time on their gadgets. I feel cubing is the perfect activity to channelise the free time and energy,” Hari adds. 

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