How Homegrown Visual Artist Imdad Barbhuyan Uses 'Radical Optimism' To Resist Conformity

How Homegrown Visual Artist Imdad Barbhuyan Uses 'Radical Optimism' To Resist Conformity
Imdad Barbhuyan

The idea of viewing the human body and nature as an interwoven entity is lost on a world embroiled with hyper consumption. Finding some serenity within this chaos by creating a visual directory of this interplay; photographer and artist Imdad Barbhuyan chooses radical optimism as a means of resisting conformity. Layered with unique shades of human vulnerability, the artist seeks to validate and embrace connection through a myriad of visual narratives. 

These images gently dismantle our limited perceptions and bring relief to the soul through a theatrical yet comforting art direction. Playing with elevated colour palettes and intimate shots, Imdad is revolutionising our visual experiences one shot at a time. In conversation with Homegrown, the artist shares the influences and intentions behind the imagery and while further divorcing the prevalent nihilism, he leaves us with a hopeful yearning for the future. 

Your images tend to play with layered intimacy that creates a visual yearning for connection. What encourages this theme in your work? 

Intimacy and a desire for connection are two of the key ideas that I like to weave my visual narratives around. From the relationship between a mother and child, the connection between two lovers to the individual longing to be seen, accepted and loved; our human need to connect can take many forms. My images are the embodiment of this need to not just float on the surface but dive deep, in hopes of finding something real and meaningful. I want people to ask questions and really be mindful about how we all choose to spend the very little time we have on earth. 

What inspires you to use nature as a central, dominant subject in your visual stories? 

I love nature, in fact, I am nature. This is exactly the point I intend to make through my visuals, that we are indeed a part of nature and not separate from it.

I am trying to inspire people to slow down, open their hearts and find ways to be one with nature again. In order to restore the balance and live in harmony with the natural world we must honour our planet and move through life gracefully, with gratitude for the abundance that we are blessed with. Through my work, I am creating a visual world which is a humble attempt at projecting the union of man and nature; this is my version of utopia.

There is a lot of simplicity in your visuals that don’t overwhelm the viewer but rather play with a form of mysticism. Is this intentional and how do you visually conceptualise and create this atmosphere? 

Thank you, I’ll take that as a compliment :) I am honestly not consciously trying to decide how my images should look, it has to do with the fact that I myself am a simple human being who enjoys the little things in life. I seek purity and authenticity and I think it comes through. I am making an image to share my inner world and how that image looks could be an outcome of how I see things, my references and aesthetic sensibilities. 

I think we live in a magical world, we just need to cultivate the eyes to see it. We need to encourage the childlike curiosity within us and have a sense of fantasy and wonder, towards nature, life and the fact that we have a body. That we are blessed to live in a world where there are planes, that we can fly and fruits that are colourful and become one with our body. How two bodies touch and make love, while we revolve around the sun that burns and keeps us all alive. 

It’s all so fascinating but when you look at them separately, they are all so simple yet beautiful. 

Your imagery is starkly different from the oversaturated visuals commonly on digital platforms as you tend to find beauty in the mundane. Is this your way of reshaping our collective visual language? 

Yes, I see the influence my work has had on our visual zeitgeist in the past few years. My 'picnic image' has become the symbol of spring globally. I see other artists and brands trying to emulate my work all the time now but as Oscar Wilde said, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. 

I didn’t wake up one day thinking i’m going to change the world or become famous or rich. My art is deeply personal, it is intertwined with my life, my dreams, friendships and relationships. It’s like breathing, I do it for me but at the same time, everytime someone writes to me saying how my work helps them feel seen, less alone and sometimes even brave enough to quit their job or move to a new city, it's the most rewarding feeling! 

You can explore Imdad's work here.

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