As big fans of art in all its forms ourselves, we love to immerse ourselves in it, understand its motivations and appreciate it for what it is. We love it for its subjectivity –– it may not mean the same thing to everyone that consumes it, but definitely leaves a mark.
French Impressionist Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” As true as he is, much of today’s artwork has to do with what the artist or creator is aiming to express –– dependant on their identity, where they are in their life and the relationships that surround them.
As a mere admirer of art and not someone who excels at creating it, we posed three questions under the umbrella of ‘Freedom and Self Expression Through Art’ to three creators to gain their perspective and firsthand experience in this field –– we’re all for learning. Creators Asheem Das, Pritam Yonzon and Soyeohang Rai were kind enough to lend us their thoughts on their work, all that goes into making it and what it means to them. Here’s what they had to say.
What is your idea of portraying ‘self’ through your artistic expression?
Asheem Das’s work, which we came across not too long ago, makes clear the non-consideration of socially constructed ideas of sexuality and gender.
He says, “As a gender non-binary person, I do like to bend the gender norms through my existence. All of my work has been more or less inspired by queer culture!”
Our next creator, Priyam Yonzon’s creations are something one can spend hours looking at.
They say, “Being truly, freely, my authentic self is what I opt for –– always! Binding in with my own realm of my self form of artistic expression.”
If you wish to learn just how important culture is in art, we suggest you peruse through our next creator, Soyeohang Rai’s work. As a visual storyteller, he aims to make his Indian-Nepali culture visible in mainstream media, with the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community.
He says, “What I do is not different from who I am. Every picture I create and artwork I make has parts of me embedded into it –– maybe a conscious effort sometimes, but sometimes subconscious. My art is not just an artistic expression –– it is an expression of me, the artist. I do not exist because of the expression, rather the artistic expression exists because of me. My art is a mirror, I see my truth and I show my truth. Without the self, there is no expression.”
Where do you think freedom fits in the relationship between art and expression?
Here’s what the small town kid with the big ambitions, Asheem thinks of the portrayal of self in his art.
“Art is free and so is expression. We can express ourselves with our art. It is our happy place.”
Priyam says, “Freedom –– the word’s meaning itself! For me, freedom in art and expression is the most essential element when it comes to portraying one’s true self. You can go your own way, like everyone has their way of expressing themselves –– extravagant or minimal –– for both, your personal freedom, how you feel free and happy is the key to your form of art and expression.
Soyeohang, a true believer of identity in art has an interesting take on this.
He says, “Actually, if the mere birth of thought was considered art. then only it can be considered truly free. When it comes to its materialistic sphere, i.e, its expression, then art is only free to an extent as one is always hindered by the mode or means of translating a vision to reality. For me, I am still building a language wherein I am able to express my art more eloquently and I think so are all of the artists throughout the globe.”
Does the definition of ‘self-expression’ in India differ to what it was 5 years ago? What is its future?
With all three in agreement that the definition of ‘self-expression’ is different from the one in the past, here’s what they had to say.
Asheem says, “Absolutely. Indian society is like a growing kid, and it’s taking baby steps towards greatness.
Priyam opines, “Yes it has by a leap! The form of self acceptance has grown hugely in the past few years and it feels great and is a relief to be able to witness the wave of change breaking stupid norms. There’s more to come, always!
Soyeohang says, “Yes! I can speak for myself –– 5 years ago I thought I wanted to be a fashion blogger after being influenced by the fashion scene of America and Europe. Today, I want to tell my own story, build my own narrative, share stories of my forefathers as art through fashion. In these 5 years, our minds have gotten more space to observe and introspect, learn and unlearn. Thanks to media, culture, counter-culture and also the pandemic, the youth today is prepared to use platforms like social media and not get used by them instead.”
Find Asheem here.
Find Priyam here.
Find Soyeohang here.
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