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Portrait of a policeman as an artist

- Additional SP Dilip Roy showcases his creative side through root sculpture
Dilip Roy

Agartala, July 31: Policemen — serving or retired — wielding the pen is not entirely news. Policemen making their mark as authors have earned appreciation across the world, an example being the once best-selling US author Joseph Wambaugh, a former officer of the Los Angeles police department. Closer home, former Assam DGP Harekrishna Deka is an award-winning poet-critic.

But a serving police officer giving expression to his creative ideas through painting and root sculpture and craft is something different. In Tripura, a relatively young police officer, Dilip Roy, has created a large number of root sculpture and paintings.

An additional SP currently holding the charge of TSR (10th battalion) as commandant, the 47-year-old will hold an exhibition of his art and craft will be organised at Agartala Press Club from August 3-5.

Hailing from Tripura’s Belonia subdivision, Roy had been drawn to the world of art since his schooldays, occasionally dabbling in painting. But his focus shifted soon as he discovered the ethereal beauty of nature in the unlikeliest corners — roadside shrubs and bushes, decayed tree roots and stumps, besides jhum (shifting cultivation) huts and discarded items strewn across forests and habitations.

“I continued with my love for painting but soon discovered that beautiful art work could be created by chiselling tree roots and dried up stumps; I started collecting discarded and decayed bamboo and tree roots and stumps and gave them a concrete shape through my artistic lens,” said Roy.

Having completed his college education, Dilip joined the state planning department as research officer and then Tripura Police Service (TPS) as DSP.

“My joining police service and movement through the state’s forest areas helped me get close to Tripura’s pristine nature and collect materials for my art forms,” said the police officer. His passionate search for beauty in lifeless tree and bamboo roots and decayed stumps continues insatiably.

Roy’s creations are a tribute to his artistic view of life: a Jurassic creature resembling a dinosaur had been carved and chiselled from a huge, unwieldy root while the image of an extra-terrestrial being, titled Alien, carved out of bamboo cane, provides ocular delight. Tree roots elevated on bamboo ladders give the impression of “reaching out”. The Freedom series carved out of roots and rotten trunks brought to life by colour similarly strikes a viewer with a sense of novelty. Among Roy’s paintings, a brown-eyed half-covered face of a woman and five scantily clad children standing together in a huddle at the door of a tribal hut provides a more realistic touch to his art form.

The artiste feels that root craft and culture should be introduced as an extra-curricular subject in schools. “The benefits are two-fold — root craft and sculpture are created by both mother nature and humans; nature first gives us a queer material on which human emotions and imagination work to create a new art form,” said Roy, who is confident of the success of his upcoming exhibition.


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