My name is Throngkiuba Yimchungrü, but I am also known as Athrong for short. I am 20 years old and I am an art student studying at the Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship in Kolkata. In 2009 I participated in the State Art Exhibition in Nagaland, and in 2010 I was selected in a national competition to participate in a group show organised by ICCR in Kolkata. In 2011 I was honoured with the Young Talented Artist Award by the North East Zone Cultural Centre (Government of India).
I am from the Yimchungrü tribe in Eastern Nagaland. Our culture has changed so much and we are losing touch with our heritage. Unfortunately I do not know of any other artists from my community nor am I familiar with our folktales. I use charcoal, pencil, acrylic, oil, watercolour – even dental tools and any other materials that I can find around in my creative activities. I am mostly inspired by political and social corruption in my art, and I really appreciate classical paintings.
My ambition is to achieve my Bachelors Degree in India and then perhaps to study abroad for my Masters. When I am fully qualified, I will work to promote my people and culture through the field of art and in that way I will also be contributing for a better Nagaland.
It was instinct that inspired me to take up art. I grew up without a father and my childhood was not easy. My mother had to bring up five of us alone and this hardship continues to shape me as an artist. I began taking art seriously after a motorbike accident in 2009 which limited my mobility for a while and I began practicing art for up to nine hours a day. At first my family discouraged me from art, but now they support me fully. My mother has a lot of intuition and now I am also developing the ability to interpret dreams.
So far I have not tried using digital tools or animation in my artwork, but I look forward to getting into this after I have achieved my degree. For the time being, I am totally into painting and sculpture.
I have joined the Adivasi Arts Trust so that I can meet other artists and get involved in more projects in the future. I am starting by illustrating some Yimchungrü folktales.