Campaigning with art for peace in Northeast
New Delhi: The idyllic life amid strife in the northeastern countryside is the subject around which Assamese artist Jiten Hazarika has built his peace campaign.
"The tension in the society has influenced art in the northeast. During insurgency in Assam, young artists eschewed flowers and nature for guns and blood on their canvas to express their angst. But the canvas is looking colourful once more," Hazarika said.
A solo exhibition of his art, `A Life in Pictures` - a collection of oil paintings, opened at Shridharani Art Gallery in the capital Saturday.
Hazarika, born in Nagaon in Assam in 1936, was a member of the Army Engineering Corps before taking to the world of colours.
His work shows his evolution from an army man to a full-time painter.
A rugged style has made way for stylised and happy figures that are expressionist in their iconography and style.
The figures, predominantly of women, are ethnic with almond eyes and languid bodies that pulsate with a "subterranean erotic energy", which the artist says "feeds his creative passion".
Hazarika has worked on a variety of mediums - oil, steel, wood, clay and texts.
His harmonious compositions deliberately avoid violence. A carefully-constructed meditative silence holds his figures captive in serendipity.
"I try to bring out their innocence, simplicity and welcoming warmth, which are often misunderstood outside the region, on my canvas," the artist said.
Hazarika said the movements in art in the northeastern region, especially in Assam, has been in tandem with problems in the society.
"The society has been adulterated by ingress of people from Bangladesh and other areas of the country. The social family fabric has been dislodged. Traditions and cultures have changed and Assam has become vulnerable to radical groups. The changes found their way into art," he said.
The women are accompanied by children on his canvas.
"The children symbolise peace and `every day`. I believe no serious art can be created without a concern for life," Hazarika said.