PERSONALISING PERPETUAL DIFFERENCES…
Noni Borpuzari is a name that needs no introduction in Assam. Noni is one of the finest artists born after India attained independence. He along with some others has successfully carved out a place for the Assamese artists in the Indian scenario. For over two decades, Noni has been maintaining his hard-earned reputation as a consistent printmaker producing quality works. This is no mean achievement for an artist working in Assam where worthwhile facilities for printmaking, as well as exhibiting, were almost non-existent till recently.
Noni’s primary aim is to objectify his personal response to what he sees; and that includes the art he comes across. Being an artist equally concerned with objectification of response in a variety of media by adopting methods and techniques suitable for each medium, Noni’s prints and paintings do exhibit perpetual differences. Still, these perpetual differences do not cancel out the personality identifying commonality between them. I recently caught up with the artist for a discussion. Following are excerpts.
Aiyushman: You are known for making prints. What other mediums do you work in and are comfortable with?
N.B.: When I first took up painting in a professional way, I used to do oil paintings. Then I tried sculpture and graphic printing which I continued for quite some time. Over the last few years, I have started giving more focus on oil paintings.
Aiyushman: Your paintings show that you are not interested in political issues of the present times though you have always laid emphasis on death. Can you please elaborate on your topics of choice?
N.B.: My series called Bandage was perceived by many to be highly political. You will find that there are more people in this world who are not allowed to express their feelings compared to the number of people who are unable to express themselves due to physical inabilities. And as far as death is concerned, the entire range of activities centring around death appears to be an act out of a long play. A few days of well-scripted mourning, some rituals and you are back to normal.
Aiyushman: A lot of developmental works are going on and the city has a new look. What are the changes that you have noticed over the years and your views regarding the current spate of development?
N.B.: It is true that there has been a lot of development but has there been any mental development of the people? The moot word is exploitation as everyone is trying to exploit the simple mentality of the people. Fifty percent people of the city don’t have water to drink. Do you call it development? I had to vacate my old house because of flash floods. Is that development? It is imperative for the authorities to realise that for any development to take place, there has to be mental development first.
And when I talk about mentality, the new generation has undergone a lot of changes with regards to behaviour, attitude and basic decency. Even we had fun when we were young but we always used to respect the elderly people, be it a cobbler or a sweeper. This sense has got lost somewhere and it is not a global phenomenon. Teenage angst is present everywhere. Even in The United States and Canada, I encountered this spirit of the young generation but in our city and state, it has reached an extreme level.
Aiyushman: When you started painting professionally, there were hardly any facilities. What do you have to say about the new generation of painters who have better facilities in comparison?
N.B.: The new generation of painters have benefited a lot with the latest infrastructure that we did not have at our disposal. Moreover, it is a fact that they are producing excellent work. I cannot say about the upcoming generation but over the last few years, the state has produced some excellent painters. This augurs very well for the future of the state’s art scene.