World Art Day: Two Naga Artists Paint Life Into Canvas - Eastern Mirror
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World Art Day: Two Naga artists paint life into canvas

By Livine Khrozhoh Updated: Apr 14, 2024 5:20 pm

DIMAPUR — In Nagaland, ‘fine art’ is yet to be fully appreciated and valued by many people.

However, there is a noticeable shift as the art market in the state is gradually gaining momentum, with an increasing clientele seeking artworks for aesthetic, decorative, or gifting purposes.

On the eve of World Art Day, Eastern Mirror interacted with two self-taught artists from Nagaland — Temenyanger and Thejavino Savi — who have carved a niche for themselves in the art world.

Temenyanger: From passion to full-time profession

World Art Day: Two Naga artists paint life into canvas
Temenyanger posing with one of his paintings
World Art Day: Two Naga artists paint life into canvas
“That house in Dzuleke” by Tim Yanger (Temenyanger)

Temenyanger, popularly known as Tim Yanger, is a self-taught artist who grew up from Tuli in Mokokchung district, and holds a master’s degree in Zoology from Kohima Science College.

Raised by a single mother who is very supportive of his art and creativity, he started painting with crayons and water colours at a young age. But after passing high school, there was a hiatus.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he picked up painting again and is now pursuing full time with the hope to “make a profession out of my passion.”

“Art for me is something that evokes feelings for the audience and that has been created by hand. If it brings joy and happiness and acts as an escape from reality for the audience, even for the slightest moment; that is art for me”, he said.

The themes of his works are mostly still life art, landscape and architecture.

“Still life and homes bring a sense of calmness to me. Growing up I had a very strong attachment with my grandparents, their cozy kitchen and their beautiful wooden house, and like that my paintings revolves around those themes because I feel connected to them,” he expressed.

The artist, who chose not to disclose his age, also shared that he finds inspiration in the mundane and ordinary, saying that, “there is something in it that I do not have the words to describe but that is where I find inspiration. If I see anything inspirational, I take a lot of pictures of the object or the place and that is how my process starts.”

Taking orders from around the world

Yanger, who has more than 55k followers on Instagram, takes order for his art works only through the platform. The artist disclosed that when he started painting again in 2020, he promoted his works through his Instagram page, and with the support of many well-wishers, his posts and reels went viral and, “that is how I have been able to use social media to promote my art.”

Tim Yanger instagram

On an average, he receives about eight orders in a month.

He has shipped his paintings to other countries like Finland, Germany and the US, but most of his clients are from India.

The orders mostly include ‘still life paintings and pet portraits’, and it takes him about 1-2 weeks to finish a painting. He said he is able to meet the demand of the clients as, “it is more of a personal work rather than a business account. The fact that this is my passion makes it feel less like work, frankly.”

What makes his art stand out from other artists?

Yanger opined that it is the storytelling aspect as all his artwork and paintings are simple but there is always a story behind them, and the story resonates with the audience. “When you put your heart into something, your audience and people who view your work can also feel it, I believe,” he said.

“Do what you love, if you have a vision go for it. Never stop learning and be consistent,” he advised.

Thejavino Savi: Showcasing vibrancy of Nagas through portraits

World Art Day: Two Naga artists paint life into canvas
Thejavino Savi posing with one of her artworks
World Art Day: Two Naga artists paint life into canvas
“Warrior”, a portrait by Thejavino Savi

From sketching cartoon characters as a hobby when she was 8-years-old to finally drawing portraits of Naga folks, Thejavino Savi endeavours to showcase the world the beauty and vibrancy of the Naga people through her canvas.

Twenty-one-year-old Savi is also a self-taught artist with a passion for creating realistic art using pencils as well as experimenting with acrylic, watercolours and digital art.

She recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business from St. Joseph College, Jakhama, and is currently into digital marketing and at the same time pursuing her dream of creating and selling her art works.

She is drawn to the captivating essence of realism, particularly inspired by the rich tapestry of the Naga culture. “Creating portraits of Naga individuals from various tribes adorned in their authentic cultural garments fills me with immense joy. The vibrant bursts of colours, the intricate patterns adorning unique attires, and the timeless tattoos etched into the skin of venerable warriors, all serve as the wellsprings of my muse,” she expressed.

“My wellspring of inspiration knows no bounds. When portraying cultural portraits, a profound understanding of tribal attires is essential, and once armed with knowledge, I embark on sketching out rough outlines either on paper or digitally on my phone, constantly referring back as I breathe life into my final masterpiece,” she narrated.

Art as a beautiful avenue for self-expression

She defines art as a beautiful avenue for self-expression, allowing emotions to flow freely without the need for words. She found solace and healing through art when her mother died when she was 16, and it also made her learn to prioritise mental well-being by setting aside time for self-care and enabling to nurture her inner self through the creative process.

At the age of 13, her brother introduced her to the intricate world of realistic portrait drawing and fundamental techniques like shading and blending.

Though her journey into realism had its ebbs and flows, a turning point came during the pandemic, and amidst transitioning to online college classes and having more time on her hands, she yearned for financial independence which sparked an idea – to offer commissioned portraits.

Despite lacking top-notch art tools and still a novice, she jumped in wholeheartedly, and to her delight, “a steady stream of orders came pouring in.”

“With every portrait sold, I not only earned income but also gained invaluable experience, and the continuous flow of commissioned works kept me dedicated and fueled my artistic growth exponentially,” she said

Entering the entrepreneurial world

Savi shared that her highest paid artwork till date is a recent piece titled “Warrior”, a close-up colour pencil portrait of a courageous Khiamniungan warrior in his traditional outfit.

She receives about 10 clients a month, though there are instances where demand exceeds supply, especially during busy periods like wedding seasons or occasions such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

“I frequently receive orders for wedding anniversaries, birthday gifts, and portraits of deceased loved ones as well. Typically, a piece takes around three to 10 days depending on the paper size, but including intricate details or adding multiple individuals may extend the completion time,” she shared.

She said that majority of orders come from Nagaland, but she also receives orders from Delhi.

Initially, Savi used to display her artworks on social media, primarily Instagram, in an effort to draw clients and she would charge a set fee of INR 200 per artwork.

Merging art and business into a career

The young artist expressed that she sometimes finds herself standing at the threshold of uncertainty as she has profound passion for both ‘art and business.’

She revealed that the thought of merging art and business into her career has been a driving force and giving up on either is “simply not an option.”

“I am driven by the desire to cultivate multiple streams of income, allowing me the freedom to earn through various avenues and embrace a lifestyle that offers flexibility and creativity,” she added.

Challenges as a budding artist

Savi narrated that she has encountered a few challenges in the form of skepticism from those around her when she first embarked on her artistic journey, with some going to the extent of saying that art as a career held little promise.

But with her unwavering determination, she managed to excel in her academic life and also grow as an artist.

“Have faith in your own potential and talents, pursue your aspirations and follow the path that truly ignites your passion. Remember, if you excel at something, there is always a way to turn it into a source of abundance,” she said.

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By Livine Khrozhoh Updated: Apr 14, 2024 5:20:56 pm
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