Northeast talent comes alive on canvas

Art is simply a medium to express one self and this is just what 3 young artists from the North East have done through their exhibition “Random Lives and North East India“. The two-day group exhibit held at the Nagaland House in Delhi over the weekend was an art lovers delight as the freshness and fervor clearly came through.

All three artists – Jithuw Pfuzeh, Cynthia Kolakhe and A. Zhoniu Pfozhe – hailing from Nagaland and Manipur have graduated from Delhi. Having already done some low-profile exhibitions in the capital, the trio seek to promote Northeastern culture and create a new platform for the people of the North East. Inspired by daily life, the paintings are of personal experiences and inspirations from dreams, random thoughts and childhood memories.

“The focus here is not to sell our work, but to exhibit our talent to the public,” says Zhoniu, who is a graduate with mathematics honours from Hans Raj College. With no professional training, Zhoniu has been painting since he was a child. “My parents wanted me to get a government job as they, like many, thought art is not a lucrative professional choice. But I always knew I wanted to paint.”

Zhoniu, who mostly paints abstract forms and figures, says the celestial world fascinates him. His favourite painting is about a dream he once had. “I had a dream one night and I knew that I wanted to paint it. It took me 2 months to complete it. Having finished the piece I don’t feel like parting with it. I want to keep it for myself,” said an excited Zhoniu. He is already brimming with ideas for his next collection which he says will be about the cosmic world. “I made a mistake by taking up mathematics, I should have studied physics. The cosmic world really fascinates me,” said Zhoniu lightly.

“The Meteor”, by A. Zhoniu Pfozhe

The theme of tribal women runs strongly through the exhibit, with paintings depicting them in various moods. A piece by Jithuw Pfozhe, a graduate in physical science from Ramjas College, shows a woman dancing and the motion has been captured subtly but beautifully. While most of his paintings are abstract based on culture, he does portraits as well. “Since I was a child I enjoyed painting. I have tried to portray our tribal culture in some of my works and we hope to make the world aware of it.” He also draws inspiration from music. “One day I was listening to a song and I began to paint. I came up with an abstract creation that the viewer can interpret as he wants,” adds Jithuw.

The third artist, Cynthia Kolakhe, is a graduate from Delhi School of Fine Arts. She is a freelance graphic designer with Naga Headhunters, a production house in Nagaland, where she is a member and a founder. She is more into pop and contemporary art. “Most of my work depicts the day today life including the tribal women. I am also teaching art now,” she said.


“Urban Naga”, by Cynthia Kolakhe

While most paintings have vibrant colours there were a few black and white ones as well. The medium used comprises of oil on canvas, acrylic on canvas and oil on paper. Majority of their work is oil on canvas but with variety of art forms. There are portraits, landscapes, abstract, sketches and pop art. What really stood out at the exhibit was their vibe and passion. The artists spoke to every guest, walking them through their work one by one and explaining their perspective and vision. The enthusiasm and eagerness to express, through art, their culture and beliefs was very infectious. In fact there is a reason behind keeping the exhibition at Nagaland House. They wanted it to be accessible to the youth and students so that they get inspired to follow their passion.

(The article first appeared on The Asian Age. By Shruti Dua)

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