Artist Oinam Dilip’s vivid paintings are rooted in his identity and theculture of the northeast, and each canvas tells its own unique story.
It’s been 18 years since artist Oinam Dilip has been calling Delhi home. But his heart and art are still deeply rooted in the beautiful green land he was born and spent his childhood in. “There are 33 tribes in Manipur, where I am from, with a total population of 30 lakh. Of these only 70,000 have jobs. The rest are unemployed as there are barely any resources there. There are also no private companies. After completing their schooling many children from Manipur come to Delhi for higher studies and to look for jobs,” he says.
Dilip, 34, who has a degree in fine arts from the College of Arts, New Delhi, has more than 25 successful group shows to his credit. “I have tried to portray our culture and traditions through my paintings,” he says. The solo exhibition, titled ‘Homecoming’, all set to open in the capital next week, will showcase over 15 works by Oinam, which recount his internalisation of experiences that are rooted in his identity and the culture of Northeast India.
Oinam’s previous works were predominantly controlled by the sensibilities of the contemporary South Asian art scenario. But ‘Homecoming’ marks a shift in his artistic focus. “Having friends in Delhi, who have now moved to different places, I feel my paintings are a window through which I see my home,” he says. “Every painting has a different message and its own unique story to tell. I have made sure that my paintings depict a traditional dress code of the characters in them,” he adds
The multi-layered, complex and painstaking treatments in acrylic enhance the element of drama. “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. My paintings are mostly a depiction of my experience and feelings with people and life as I grew up. But so far, I haven’t tried to portray the exotic landscape or culture of my land or people in my work,” he explains.
His hobbies include listening to music and occasionally playing the guitar. “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. I am still growing and I want my work to be globally recognised. In fact, most artists hardly make money from their art. But places like Delhi or Mumbai offer a host of opportunities to an artist to get recognition or make money,” he signs off.