Morung Express News
Dimapur | August 8
This Saturday, the young and old in Dimapur found a creative way to express. Armed with paintbrush, pencil, crayon or any other medium, they gathered at Green Park for an ‘Art Picnic.’
The Art Picnic—coming together for a picnic to play with sketches and colours instead of, say, a Frisbee—came to Nagaland through artist Temsuyanger Longkumer (39). People were asked to bring their choice of material (pencil, crayons, oil paint, canvas etc.), find a spot around the boating area at Green Park and make their art. Various supplies were also provided at the venue, making it an open art event for all.
“This is the first time such an event is happening in Dimapur and I’m very excited about it,” said artist and teacher of art, Longmochang Jamir (29), who took part in the event held from 10am to 4pm. Artists from neighbouring states also attended the Picnic. “We never have these events in Nagaland, and it would be encouraging to have them in the future as well,” said Jamir.
“There are a lot of skilful people here who could be great artists but there is no active art scene to promote them,” said Temsuyanger, who grew up in Dimapur with the spirit of an artist but found little encouragement to fan the fire within. He later went to Guwahati, Baroda and is now a practicing artist in London. Till date, he informed, schools hire art teachers who are paid lesser than other subject teachers. “Artists tend to get secluded in general and in Nagaland you could be not heard at all,” he highlighted.
In these conditions, art and craft continue to remain in the realm of the forefathers, practiced in its essence as of 150-years-back, with little done to contemporise the field. “Are we too overwhelmed by the art that our ancestors have left us?” wonders the artist, reflecting that there seems to be a “missing link” between that time and this, with people becoming “too dependent on what our ancestors have left us.” The idea is to synergise ancestral art with a stroke of the times.
The Art Picnic is a channel to let artists congregate, exchange ideas and contemporise art in a way that reflects how Naga society has been moving forward. Temsuyanger, thus, brought together professional artists at the event who drew alongside young artists who could gain access to techniques when needed. He plans to make this an annual affair that goes beyond Dimapur and Kohima, to neighbourhoods everywhere in Nagaland where art can be practiced and proliferated.
Like many, Temsuyanger grew up in violent times. “We could not even walk in groups lest the (Indian) Army pick us up,” he said, thinking back on the times. “We should celebrate what our ancestors have left us but we should also start reflecting on our situation through drawing, painting, dance or any other artistic platform,” noted the artist who has been expanding his range of art works ever since he began. His work can be accessed at www.temsuyanger.com.
The concept of the Picnic will grow into larger projects in the future that will involve the coming together of various art forms. The next Art Picnic will be held in Kohima on August 22 at the Botanical Gardens, Old Ministers Hill from 10am to 4pm.