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Oinam dilip portrays the complexities of life on canvas with bold colours

Through serenity and expressions of hope in bold and vibrant swathes of colour, Oinam Dilip portrays ideals of beauty and conventional bonds.

Relations, responsibility and innocence form recurring motifs in this Manipuri artistís works, projecting a sense of wonder at the multifaceted realities of the world.

Dilip, 34, who has a degree in the fine arts from the College of Arts, New Delhi, has been based in New Delhi for the past 12 years and done more than 20 successful group shows.

Known for his larger than life solitary figures, predominantly drawn from mythology, he loves to play with a colour palette that primarily comprises earthy shades, bold red and coppery browns.

The multi-layered, complex and painstaking treatments in acrylic enhance the element of drama.

His recent solo exhibition, titled Pa & Pi, was held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, January 10 to 12.

The paintings depict sentiment and innocence, through the serenity of a woman or an expression of hope in the eyes of a child.

Alipta Jena speaks to the artist on his endeavours and inspirations.

What inspired you to become an artist?

Ever since I can remember, I have been drawing and painting. Painting comes naturally to me and I consider myself blessed to have artistic talent. The world sometimes takes on a life of its own when your imagination is full of wonder and your creativity is just waiting to emerge on a blank canvas or a piece of paper.

What are some of the recurring themes in your paintings?

I love to depict the charms of boyhood/girlhood, innocence, man-woman relationships in very dramatic and bold colours in acrylic.

Tell us about your formative years.

My childhood was one of the best times in my life. My mother was posted at a hill station. So I spent more than two decades of my life among beautiful landscapes.

The small river running next to my house was a sight I can never forget. I could hear the sound of the running water and birds singing every morning.

Playing hide and seek and classical marble game was a prominent part of my growing up years. Hence the innocence of childhood features prominently in my paintings.

How does your background or your native state figure in your work?

My paintings are mostly a depiction of my experience and feelings with people and life as I grew up. But so far, I havenít tried to portray the exotic landscape or culture of my land or people in my work.

Are there any major influences on your work or artists you have been inspired by?

There are so many on the list. Shyamal Dutta Ray, Ganesh Pyne, Gustav Klimt, are a few names that come to my mind.

What are the major themes that inspire your work.

I feel there are complexities in life and we all encounter them as we grow up. I really adored my childhood days.

The eyes of a child never lie.

They intensely project their heart ó a heart which breathes for the call of buddies, shares secrets for the sake of promises, bond of love of couples and their relationships are the common theme as well.

Tell us about your latest exhibition Pa & Pi.

Pa & Pi is derived from the Manipuri words nupa and nupi, meaning male and female.

They are opposites, they are different but also inter-dependent.

Most of the emotional complexities of life that I have experienced or face have risen from the male-female bonding or relationships.

In my latest series of paintings, I have tried to depict this dichotomy.

Right from the wonder years of growing up to getting attracted to the opposite sex and getting intimate in the form of relationships, the images are dramatically conveyed on my canvas. Thanks to the support of my friends and family, the exhibition was quite successful.

Art curators from the US, Pakistan, Singapore and New Delhi have shown interest in my latest works and we are already finding ways to work together.

What are your future plans?

I am still growing and I want my work to be globally recognised.

What are the prospects for an artist from the Northeast and how have they made a mark at the national level?

I know a lot of talented artists in the Northeast who couldnít make a mark in the art world as there are no art galleries, buyers or promoters out there.

In fact, most of the artists hardly make money from their art. But places like Delhi or Mumbai give a host of opportunities to an artist to get recognition or make money.

They have the perfect combination of the media, art collectors, curators, rich buyers and hundreds of galleries.

But if a northeastern artist wants to make it here, they should make this their base.

I know a few friends from the Northeast who have been struggling in Delhi but gradually, their hard work is paying off because of their patience, diligence and of course, meeting the right people.