ISSUE NO.1 | The Nagas | July 2017
CULTURE ON CANVAS
THE STROY OF A PAINTER
Kohima, 25.6586° N, 94.1053°
Avikho Sachu is not an official member of Project 72 Hours, but he is not very different from what all these artists are. They are messengers. Avikho, through his brushes and colours, spreads the message that the culture of Nagaland does not need to be forgotten amidst the reign of modernisation.
Avikho Sachu is a freelance artist in Kohima. Most of his year is spent completing his Art degree in New Delhi, so whenever at home, he gets himself involved with his friends in numerous activities related to art. We met him while he was preparing a rough template of a three-dimensional street art piece which he and his brother would convert on a wall the very next week. Avikho’s interest lies in print-making which, according to Avikho, has not made an impact in the art scene of Northeastern India. So when we visit his home, we see beautiful pieces of abstract art that he desires to use in print-making. When asked for a short collective explanation to his preferred subject of art as we studied those of animal skulls depicting a Naga’s pride in hunting wild animals and compositions comprising tribal traditions and livelihood, he said he wants the fast-modernizing people of Nagaland not to forget their culture and traditions.
“It is sad to see the depletion of Naga tradition in this land. As a city is born, so does an urge to migrate and settle in it. Kohima is a city where people belong to variety of tribes. A festival like Hornbill might remind us what we ought to be proud of, but that is not enough to drive our people to uphold and respect our culture. It saddens me to rightly foresee our cultures vanishing soon. The most I can do is remind people through my art and make them realise what they are losing: something that would never come back once gone.”
Looking at the way the city of Kohima presents itself at first sight to an outsider who had just come down from a heritage Naga region like Mon, Avikho’s words are worth considering. Despite promoting the Hornbill festival by telling about it to every traveller who had come after it had ended, the city today does lack sufficient folk culture.