The indigenous aesthetics of the Northeast are rooted in the recognition of their unique cultural identities and diversity. Taking inspiration from their rich tastes in cuisine, clothing and a vibrant natural setting, creatives from the area are now the leading aesthetes in the industry and are in many ways curating the modern aesthetic sensibilities of India.
These young minds are crafting an identity that is both relevant in a contemporary context while staying true to their cultural roots. Each one of them paints an appealing image of niche subcultures of their particular states; employing tools of social media to gain a wider reach and further propagate their dynamic culture.
The Northeast is diverse and its cultural expressions are unique across every state. Multiple different ethnicities make the region with the charms of their own separate identities. At every step of the way, one will encounter a new style of textiles or art. This vibrant display of multi-cultural artistry is what makes these young creatives truly captivating.
The seven sisters are a treasure trove of ethnic and folk-inspired aesthetics. The emerging image-makers, stylists, chefs and photographers from the land introduce us to clean, rich and fascinating projects gleaming with cultural pride. Here are seven artists on our radar, carving out a special place for their own separate Northeastern identities.
I. Thokchom Sony, Manipur
An artist from Manipur, Thokchom Sony paints vivid expressions of the tribes of the Northeast. He employs colourful techniques that present the natives with a grandiose charm that captivates the viewer at once! His distinct style plays with geometric expressions of the flora and fauna of the region with exaggerated poses and elaborate clothing choices.
Thokchom presents ethnic cultures with traditional and digital mediums of art. He keeps a youthful spirit alive throughout all his paintings and illustrations while playing with the silhouettes and textiles of the Northeast.
II. Kristi Kikon M, Nagaland
A food blogger from Dimapur, Nagaland, Kristi Kikon is a homemaker who curates special food recipes for YouTube and Instagram. Her content has a cosy and homely vibe associated with Indian cooking. As someone who loves experimenting with different ingredients, she favours Naga food for its authenticity and simple presentation.
She has two personal favourite Naga recipes. The first is a smoked pork cooked according to her grandmother’s recipe in fermented dry fish, red chilli powder, tomatoes, and dried taro stems. The second is ‘Rosep’, a traditional dish of the Ao Naga Tribe of Nagaland that’s made of mixed vegetables, dry fish and bamboo.
III. Dhana Maibram, Manipur
A freelance artist from Manipur, Dhana Maibram is a young artist and photographer employing a range of artistic expressions; capturing the mundane through street photography while creating combinations of bold and surreal styles through studio photography.
Dhana plays with both minimalism and maximalism through their imagery; juxtaposing vibrant colours, contrasts as well as earthy tones. Their intimate shots also reveal the range of the human experience through close-ups of expressions.
IV. Aien Jamir- Nagaland
A fashion content creator from Nagaland, Aein Jamir has been curating content and visuals to celebrate all things beautiful in the most sublime manner. Her style is an ode to all the places, experiences and people she’s encountered in her life.
The young creative works with traditional textiles as well as high end brands to cultivate a vibrant and diverse following. There is a sense of authenticity in each image that captives the viewer while maintaining the experimental nature of her choice of clothing.
V. Angus Guite, Manipur
An image-maker originally from Southern Manipur, Angus is currently based in Delhi. The photographer and visual artist delves into nostalgia and his body of work revolves around the exploration of memories from his childhood and hometown including folktales passed down from his grandmother and ‘the search for a certain place, which may lie somewhere even further beyond’.
Angus is a self-taught photographer and his inspiration is autobiographical, focusing on his coming of age and a search for a home and an identity.
VI. Dennis Hauzel, Manipur
Fashion stylist Dennis Hauzel from Lamka, Manipur works with playful prints and thrifted pieces. The young artist brings a range of stylistic expressions in their work using colour blocking as well as minimalism to curate a captivating visual story. The creative has a way with colours, complimenting their shades with statement pieces and jewellery.
Nature often plays an integral part in the imagery and their love for natural surroundings also is evident in their curated Instagram shop, ‘Bygone Echoes’ where they work with upcycled and vintage pieces.
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