The art of adding colours to Naga culture and tradition
Dimapur, Sep. 18 (EMN): Naga youth are braving new frontiers in art, especially with a growing awareness and appreciation for artists from the community.
Neiphrezo Ezung, a young artist from Kohima, is garnering much attention for his realistic paintings of Naga culture, as well as art portraying pre-technological era.
“I mostly focus on portraits which portray the lifestyle of our old Naga traditions, and old paintings which remind us of an age before technology took over,” Ezung shared with Eastern Mirror.
Art representing the old days of our Naga forefathers and some of their lifestyles — traditional attires, head hunting practices, farming and others — gives him a sense of belongingness and cheers him up when he is down, he said.
“It is just an awesome experience to depict my thoughts and imaginations through art. It just makes me happy — painting,” he maintained.
Speaking about his initial days as an artist, Ezung said that in high school, he had the opportunity to participate in various arts and creativity events, competing with students from different schools. It gave him the thrill and experience to push himself further, he shared.
He said that he came across a lot of artists through various functions when he was in higher secondary school, which inspired him to pursue painting full time.
“I always had a deep interest in art and it initially started as a hobby, but I wanted to put my imagination into reality,” he said.
He revealed that it was an ‘awesome experience’ to depict thoughts and imaginations through art. His fascination for artwork soon grew- “just how creative a person can get with his imagination, the hard work and dedication an artist puts into his/her masterpiece”.
But what inspires him the most is the Naga culture and tradition- “realistic arts of our Naga forefathers. Just the raw look, tribal tattoos, attires, ornaments, ancient tools, weapons, lifestyle…. it just fascinates me”, he shared.
It usually takes him one to three months to complete an art piece, depending on the size and detailing of the picture, and “on the mood” as well. He said that he has completed around 50 pieces of art, and has sold around 22 of them with prices ranging from INR 15,000 to INR 50,000.
“I earn from family, friends and also through commission work. Throughout my journey most people have been really supportive and I am truly grateful to them as an upcoming artist,” he said.
He shared that people wanting to buy his artwork reach out to him through social media, word of mouth and via family, friends and colleagues for commission works. He also stated that he mostly displays his artworks on social media platforms. He has also displayed his work through Nagaland Art Centre, an art gallery in IMC hall, Dimapur.
Describing his style of art, Ezung said he is into classical style of art and is still exploring different styles.
Highlighting some challenges that he has faced, he said leaving studies during higher secondary to pursue art full time was a big challenge for him.
“I am where I am today all because of God’s grace and continuous support from family and friends,” he said.
“Other challenges I face on a daily basis are — time to complete an art which requires extensive detailing, finding the right colour combination, right environment, mood swings and also frustration at times,” he shared.
Overcoming challenges is difficult, and so he always takes time to pray to God for guidance and encouragement, while his family and friends motivate him.
Besides painting and sketching, he also has an interest in digital art, photoshop, online gaming, EDM music, cycling, swimming and physical fitness activities, among others.
“Every Artist was first an amateur,” he quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, while encouraging the upcoming artists to follow their dreams.