From Dyslexia to Conceptual Art: Mark Medom

Naga sculptor Mark Medom’s work has been featured in the Art Heritage Gallery, Delhi; he has also held three independent exhibitions in Delhi.
Vibi Yhokha
Kohima | February 19

“Art was an escape for me,” says Naga sculptor Mark Medom who, as a young boy, enjoyed art more than any other subject in school. For him, art was an escape from being scolded as a kid when he would often flunk in other subjects but score best in art.

As a kid, he was labeled average or below average. He could barely pass class 7, and by class 8, he had failed. People would often misunderstand his problem and consider him lazy but it was his mother, knowing he had a problem, who got him tested. He had Dyslexia – a developmental reading disorder and was immediately treated.

Moving on, Mark completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, specializing in sculpting from the prestigious College of Arts, University of Delhi where, in his final year, he scored the highest in both theory and practical. So far, he has had three exhibitions in Delhi and his work has been featured in the Art Heritage Gallery. Besides sculptures, Mark also designs logos, sets and teaches children art.

Despite being a Naga who has never lived in Nagaland, most of Mark’s sculpting has a Naga essence. His father, Ricky Medom, Chaplain, Naga Christian Fellowship, Delhi, introduced him to Nagaland and would often narrate to him the rich heritage of Nagaland, its history and struggles. Mark considers it an ‘outsider-insider’ perspective. “To see what is actually happening inside, you have to be outside,” he says. In his work named ‘Santa Claus and the Pig,’ a sleeping Santa can be seen lying next to a pig. According to Mark, Santa does not have much work load during Christmas in the Naga society because it is the feast that matters the most.

Art was also a way to vent emotions. “The things I made are what affect me; personal issues, issues on women and Nagaland,” explains Mark. In his work named ‘Absence of Presence,’ Mark sculpted a hand with a woman’s body in the palm. According to him, the hand is the society and that even with her presence in the society, a woman is not whole. His other work, ‘Love Personified,’ expresses that even in her brokenness, a woman is ready to love back.

Mark’s passion lies in conceptual art. Although he does not have a role model, some of the artists who inspire him are Anish Kapoor, Auguste Rodin and his college professor, Manish Kausana. Mark is of the view that Nagas are very artistic; that they have the skills but conceptual art is yet to evolve.

Most of his works are made of bronze, of which he says, “Bronze gives you a human feel and has an antique element at the same time. It looks soft but when you touch, it is hard. Also bronze never rusts.”  There are a lot of elements that makes Mark’s work different but what really makes his art stand out in the crowd is the concept and the attention to detail in each of his works.

For someone who has moved in life from dyslexia to an art as deep and abstract as conceptual art, Mark concludes that the hand is one of the best ways to express oneself with.