Tuesday, 12 April 2016

'Where is the Beef', Watercolor and plastic wrap on paper, 30" X 22", 2015, Image courtesy of the Artist

Sunday, 22 March 2015

"Hunt For Honour"

"Hunt For Honour"
Acrylic on Canvas
36" x 48"

Here is my latest artwork which was executed during Udaya Bhanu- A North East Painting Camp organised by Lalit Kala Akademi Regional Center, Bhubaneswar starting from 17th March - 21st March, 2015. It was my first National Camp and I had an amazing experience- interacting and sharing thoughts and artworks with my fellow artists from the North-East.

It was a great opportunity to share glimpses of my culture and tradition which are no longer practised, but ideals which are very much relevant today. One practice that comes to mind is the concept of  Thangchhuah. Now, to be a Thangchhuahpa, a man had to go through a kill list consisting of the most dangerous animals one could find in the wild at the time. Being a Thangchhuahpa was the highest position in society that one could earn, and it was indeed a position that every young Mizo boy aspired to. It stood for courage and strength in the face of the most extreme danger conceivable. It brought with it honour, respect, and perhaps the first pick among the bevy of village beauties when the time came to choose a wife.

At this juncture, I would like to note that we Mizos do not have traditional paintings as such, (though we do have an amazing array of traditional art in the form of textiles, weaving, stone carving-monoliths etc.), and my work is neither a form of traditional art, nor is it meant to represent our tradition. In truth, my work is in itself the hunt for the honour of being a Thangchhuahpa.

Having prepared my hunting ground, the hunt for heads began. I did not merely paint these animal heads over a textured background, but actually hunted them down within the patterns on my canvas.

The forms and textures found within the base of my painting provided ample opportunity to actually seek my prey. The process of seeing the animal forms coming to life before my eyes proved to be a most exhilarating experience.

Even though the actual thrill of going after my quarry and capturing it, the oh so exciting moment from the kill, to the mounting of the head over ones mantle, to crossing the game off the list cannot be compared with, I must admit the chase was nonetheless rewarding.

In my hunt, I encountered several animals formed within the confines of my canvas. It appears that even a few strange and unexplainable creatures have made their way over to my hunting ground like the one seen below. Mizo folk tales too are rife with these sightings and form the story lines for some of our most beloved stories- but that is a subject for another blog post :)

What do I want people to get out of viewing my work? The answer is quite simple. I want them to join me in my search/ hunt for heads. Like any other hunting expedition, some prey are obvious and easy to capture while others prove to be elusive and take some work.

My body of work have always leaned heavily towards relational aesthetics where one is invited to be a part of the painting- the viewing itself being a part of the artwork; my latest piece too has proven itself to fall under this category. Let's hunt for heads, a hunt for Honour.

A few pictures from the camp with fellow artists:

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Desolution of a 10-year old female Mizo Artist

Ok!! Here's this interesting photo I saw today (13th August, 2014) on Facebook. It was done by a 10 year-old mizo Girl, whose name I do not know. It was posted by his father, David Z Hmar. The caption on this photo says that the younger girl complains about her elder sister sleeping  posture that keeps her uneasy at night. So, the elder sister hearing that drew this picture of them sleeping together.

What intrigued me about this picture is her confidence in line- one of the most important element in making artworks- one which many of the amateur artists seemed to ignore. The space is well divided and composition well-balanced. Lets stop here in that aspect.

This is the kind of picture we see often in Internets and comics and might not be so fascinating as such for those who practice art and encircled within the art-world. But if you are from Mizoram and happens to be a 10 yr-old girl, this is something  beyond ordinary ( i wouldn't use extraordinary) because this picture speaks a lot about our social culture these days.
There is no such thing as any formal art education in Mizoram, we don't even have art subject in our syllabus. Well!! some schools do have and art education is a part of the Government school's syllabus, but we all know that none of us really took heed in learning art ( not even the teachers are qualified) and no school really taught art as it is meant to be. So, knowing all these, without any formal background in art, we can assume that a 10-year old doing this kind of artwork really is gifted.

I even loved the part of humor in the picture, note the difference in the facial expression of the two dreamers and what they dream about. What I said this picture speaks a lot in terms of social culture is the dream the elder sister dreams about. I mean, it's something out of our socio-cultural environment a few years back for a child (10-years) to dream such thing as "Lovers" and "Kissing". It seemed a girl her age would dreamed of butterflies and Unicorns or whatsoever. It might be the influence of K-Pop and Western culture that so much invades many of the youngsters who never actually faced the trouble of censorship.  Having said that, what I love about this picture again is that it speaks for Artists too - that Artists are always ahead of their contemporary humans, dreaming like grown-ups and always ahead of their times.

And her way of treating/coloring the dream is even something to talked about. Instead of coloring the two faces, she colored the negative space between them which could be mistook for the positive space.

Yeah, she must have felt inappropriate for her age to  express openly such as this, and induced a kind of illusion to lead the eye away. Below is an illustration of such illusion.
I really wish to know her more, let's hope in the near future that happens, and as is always, wished to get pulled near by the string that bounds all artists together. :-) :-)


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

An Abstraction????

" The sub-conscious mind at work"
Reverse painting on Acrylic sheet

My first painting of a kind and the last( till now), this is a kind of painting that is painted reverse. This kind of image evolves from an unconscious strokes of pencil I used to do for quite a number of times. It was in my second year in college (2010-11) when we are confined to weekly submissions and a particular exercise.

This was an exercise to an introduction to mural painting. It is done in an acrylic sheet where you can see through, it a kind of transparent plastic glass. So! what you actually see in the painting is actually what is in the backside. What you see at the top is actually at the bottom; from where i paint, and is covered up in layers over successive layers of paint. You can't make a mistake painting this kind of painting thinking that you'd cover it up because the very first stroke of paint is visible-actually the most prominent from the other side from where the finished work is viewed. It is really difficult to do such work as you need to paint first what is supposed to be at the last in a normal way of painting, the left has to be painted in the right side...things like that. It's quite interesting as it takes lots of skill and ideas in the execution of the work alone. Since the sheet is slippery, the paint needs to be controlled greatly, with timing crucial as the paint gets dried fast making it very hard to blend or mix colours as I used acrylic and you can relate to the summer condition in India (New Delhi).

Recalling the times I had struggled to get myself get along the unfamiliar faces and places, I realised my feelings and emotions had so much to do with my artworks which I was not very much aware then. My consciousness must've overpowered my thought process and what's inside my head must've knocked down what's inside my heart. What I'm trying to imply here is - what I've felt deep inside, I never took the courage to let it pour out or make it happen. When you are an art student, you've been set a task by your own-self, questioning your abilities as a skilled artist, trying to prove yourself that you can do something ( My main implication here is to be able to render things realistically or naturally, specially when you are surrounded with laymen-not so into art ). You never took the courage to employ your creativity and playfulness if it's not something; like when you are afraid you' might get question like- "what the hell is that picture of?" My sketchbook was filled with lots of things, a sketch of  person or objects, random words and some scribbles such as this kind of painting. It's kind of difficult to make it into some serious painting when you don't know what it is. But then I did, it was like achieving something you're able of but being hold down. It's something like someone finally getting confident to let her voice known to others what she's been listening to all by herself in the bathroom while taking a shower.
So what!! when you don't know what it is, what you're painting? That actually makes it abstract. Not everything has to be clear, in fact nothing is really clear in art, and multiple interpretation is often sought in many a paintings. This painting is an expression, the expression not clear in itself...... but then it is a kind of formless (though it has a form, to argue it) set of thoughts and feelings that is lost in space...an endless cosmos stretched into infinty. The ideas and mind often work like this, the ability is infinite but never ventured deep enough and make it finite. Solid packed spheres and empty bubbles are another elements that constitute the human mind sometimes with ideas packed up and simply empty sometimes, they remain exists  at all times: its simply filling up the sphere.

Monday, 25 November 2013

LIGHT: Natural to Real

"Outdoor Study"
Watercolour and Mixed media

4 years ago....a week after my b'day, just as it was now this week (26th nov 2013)...I made this painting. It was the 2nd week of my college....... After all those waiting, ( See my previous post)  I'm finally in college,  with an enthusiasm full of fun and eagerness to exploit my creativity to a new level. This was my First painting in my college done in handmade paper - in half  imperial sheet...that's 15" X 22". It was a week for outdoor study and we were asked to make an outdoor study with #mixed media- we can use different mediums like #watercolor, pastel, pencil, crayons, poster color etc.

I was walking around my college campus and saw many of my classmates already engrossed with their painting. I couldn't find a place to paint that easily as I always wanted to try something very different from what others are doing.... Well!! This might not look very unique but for starters like us, the 1st year students,  all the lighting effect, the textured wall, the composition and the architectural renderings all were very challenging. When i saw this spot, I was very much embedded with it...Love the way the how the small red brick wall recedes into the background with streaks of sunlight falling on it through unseen foliage. The background green foliage make a perfect contrast of complimentary color with the red-bricked wall. This was a perfect spot for me as I was always interested in #chiaroscuro and always wanted to paint as such. Besides the compositional format, it was the light effect I was most interested on.....as it was very much evident in the outcome of the finish painting. I love the way light transform the way I perceive things, I always believe Light always have the capacity to evoke aesthetic difference on any thing. For instance, for me, this picture would be just a picture of a building without the work of the lighting effect ( although the drawing alone, composition, draftsmanship and execution all contribute to the essence of art and would still be a very good picture)... but moving further, where it takes to a new level, i would say, is where some real ART lies.

I was previously going through lots of things.....not able to get admission, language problem, health problem  ( Its said that typhoid is a welcome sickness for starters in New Delhi) and many others things. I was very happy that I could finally get into a college and study ART which I was always very fond of. Its like rays of sunshine has been shined upon my dark and gloomy-self. Just as the light falling on the strong and rigid building create something to offer the aesthetic essence necessary for Artist like me to create artworks and offering back that artwork for others to see and enjoy the pleasure of artistic creation and aesthetic emotions; I could remain strong and rigid in my Faith in Jesus Christ and reflecting back His ( Jesus) light to others so that others can benefit the good works so that our Father in heaven could be glorified. We all can.....

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."   
- Matthew 5:16

How do we  let our light shine before men, what is this Light we are talking about????  We can have the LIGHT of LIFE by believing in Jesus Christ and follow Him. 

" Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” "
- John 8:12

We find in Isaiah that The Light of the Lord is much more powerful and meaningful than the so-called most powerful source of light and energy- the Sun or the moon. We see things under the  sunlight, every energy is derived from the sun.....without Sun, Earth cannot even support life. And what other thing could be more powerful than the sun.. Its the Lord, our God. ( He is even the creator of the sun and everything else)

“The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your glory." 
- Isaiah 60:90 
Waiting for that day...we should remain strong in faith, keeping aside our deeds of darkness (evil deeds) but by doing good things with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 
"The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."
- Romans 13:12 
For if we remain in the Lord, all our worries and hardship are to be enlightened and delivered...
"You, Lord, are my lamp;
    the Lord turns my darkness into light."
- II Samuel 22:29

Monday, 18 November 2013

ANGER: The Transformer in Human

"Anger : The transformer in Human"
Watercolor on Paper

Here's a painting I did way back in 2009. My college admission was postponed due to sudden notification by the Delhi Govt. regarding to some reserved seat issues in Colleges. I had been waiting for my admission like almost 4 months when I did this painting. It is a small water colour painting done on Fabriano paper. When i looked back and reflect my experience as being not able to get in college after all that I've gone through ( I've been doing my technical entrance exam coaching for 1 year earlier and all of a sudden after the technical exam I've decided to pursue a course that's not so much appreciated from where i belong- Even my families weren't sure if my choice was a very good thing : : luckily I got a good support as they all know I was very much interested in Art.) - this painting reveals some of my experience and emotions I felt when I was in a situation I don't know where it gonna take me. I keep on asking the college authorities but I do not get back any answers that helps to keep my hope high-on. It was my first time in Delhi and had to take Auto everyday even just to enquire and the auto-wallas would keep on trying to get the very best of freshers who don't know Delhi and Hindi well and my look ( Its all with the North-Easterners) make them think I'm a foreigner and had to bargain everytime I'm getting an Auto.( as if its easier to cheat foreigners)

My bank accounts' depleting...my hope's fading( well at least i still have hope through Jesus Christ).....my patience's thrown out and ANGER-towards my own - kinda develop within myself. I do not realise that I had anger in me (sounds strange? But its true) but there was something inside that's not peaceful. I was just then having an emotional sickness that i don't understand and my anger was piled up within myself that was eager to explode. I do not mean I got so angry and start all sorts of nonsense that angry people do :)...No, the thing inside was force to explode (as in my case) as an artistic expression that forced me to paint and think to that situation.

That was then when I did my painting......I made quick and vigorous strokes of paint laid wet-on-wet splashing on the paper. I then drop drops of alcohol for the #back-run effect : : the area where its been highlighted. The fiery red color of paint gets transform into a hybrid-like creature with sharp claws and teeth and without an eye. This is to show that we are mostly fierceful when we get angry and even the softest and most innocent of all people can get very nasty and fiery. I've seen people fighting and quarreling when they get angry....they fear and care nothing, as if blind, not able to see or care the consequences of  letting off their anger, ( Thinrimna in khua a hmuh tir lo)  it made them fools, as depicted in the painting as a Pig's head.....at the same time associated with harsh words that cuts other as if bitten with sharp teeth. I feel this painting got the things i had in my mind about anger, and how it can transform humans with anger exploding themselves.

After all, the best colour to depict Anger would be RED, don't you think so too??????

So,after painting, all my emotional-anger( I don't mean I'm angry- can't quite explain) turns into peace and aesthetic experience associated with joy.......... This is why I Love Art, i have written earlier about enjoying creating Art even during sadness or sickness. The same goes here when I had something within me that's troubling me- that too, with which I'm not quite clear of and making/engrossing with artwork and relieved me of what's been dumped inside me like huge garbage. :) :) :) I begin to connect to the much talked topic- Art as a #Catharsis as I reflect back on this painting.

It is very important to let go off our anger so that we can feel peace but not getting angry to hurt or fight others.
“Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath"
                                                                                                             - Ephesians 4:26

"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control"
                                                                                                            - Proverbs 29:11
"Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools."
                                                                                                           -Ecclesiastes 7:9


Sunday, 17 November 2013


Here I am, blogging for the very first time.......
A simple blog....(with)
Simple words...(and)
A simple picture.....(with)
Simple method......(and)
A simple medium....(with)
Simple explanation.....(and)
A simple Interpretation......

Here is a painting I'm working on recently.......haven't got to finish it....but I love the way this picture ascertains many of my thought process I had recently. I feel a need to portray something from where I belong and this is a picture of a cityscape in Mizoram. I recently graduated BFA and as is always said, feel a need to unlearn many of the 'normal norms' I've learned as a student of Art, I started experimenting on techniques and use of mediums since the day I joined class as a master (MFA) student. I was always fascinated by LIGHT - its different aspect and its effect. I started drawing the very LIGHT created by the illuminated houses stretched across the mountains of Mizoram set against the contrasting night sky.

I've had numbers of drawings and painting depicting this but this particular painting I'm posting has been a turning point on how I'm working. With thin wash of black paint on canvas, I started erasing the paint using the very same brush diluted with water revealing the underneath layer of white canvas thus creating/revealing LIGHT. This process is very much connected to my scratching process I've been working digitally and manually too- with different layers of picture plane, i started blackening out the top-most layer leaving everything Black, then digitally erasing/or scratching with sharp object in case of manual work revealing the lighter images underneath creating pictures with wonderful effects  and is thus always about revealing light in some sense.

This painting is also the first picture that has been this huge........working on this big canvas makes me virtually stay in the city and the painting itself...stretching my hand, getting on a chair, moving away and towards the canvas.....Oh I love it!!!! :).  
The monochromatic picture portrays the melancholy I had of my place-my home state, families and friends...the dreamlike memories and faded experience doesn't shower any bright colors to my Mind and thus my canvas.
But then, when it comes to ART, even when depicting sadness or the other side of the bright and colorful life, we always enjoy it, coz' we're doing Art, I don't know for sure but i think even Frida Kahlo must have felt some peace within herself while painting from her bed during her sickness. That's the experience when doing art, I love it and hope it continues so...... For me, Art has always been a path to self-realization; the more I know about myself, the more I could utilize myself. 

Hope you enjoy reading and the aesthetic experience that an artwork offers........

GOD BLESS YOU ALL ( Jesus Loves you)... He is the real LIGHT.
Here are some words by Jesus Christ
" I am the Light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life"
- John 8:12

"As long as I am in the world, i am the light of the world"
- John 9:5