New Delhi-based Manipur artiste Oinam Dilip’s solo painting exhibition themed ‘Northeast India’ was organized at the India International Centre in New Delhi.

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The exhibition ‘homecoming’ featured 17 paintings which reflected different modes and colours of the region. If one painting brought childhood in a rural Manipur alive, another highlighted the colour of festivals back home.

“One of the finest Indian artistes, the vibrant colours make you swoon,” wrote Krishnakant Vishwakarma, a visitor from Mumbai.

The exhibition started on July 4 and ended on July 10. For the people who are born and brought up in the region, the paintings gave them a different perspective.

“Seeing these paintings, take me to my birthplace. The beauty of the people and the place and the innocence we carry in everything we do. Dilip is an extraordinary painter who knows how to bring out the best,” said Priyadarshani Arambam.

The solo exhibition showcased the works by Oinam from recent years – which recount the artiste’s honest internalization of experiences that are rooted in his identity and the culture of northeast India.

Having toyed with the abstract and the real in his early work, and having been influenced by a metropolitan city for many years, Oinam’s previous works were predominantly controlled by the sensibilities of the contemporary South Asian art scenario. With slight variations in execution, he engaged with the spheres of solitude, grim sentimentalism, forbidding darkness, contradiction of exuberance, and spectacular figurative works.

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“I began to feel that there is a need to freely experiment with the cultural and anthropological vibrancy of northeast India through my own eyes as I was born and raised in that region. Hence, the current works are inspired by identity-based iconic images, the environment, and tangible cultural objects,” Oinam, a graduate of New Delhi’s College of Art said.

Oinam also took the liberty to differentiate juxtapositions in an attempt to create sensible visual tensions. At times, these attempts arouse questions on associative and representative cultural symbolism. However, his approach to culture is vastly different from the idea of a culturescape as normatively understood in aesthetics. Along the way, he has acknowledged the necessity of displaying variegated hues in a free play of the real and the abstract.

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