Tuesday, May 28, 2024

In Conversation with Abhishek Dey- Founder and Director, Imaginary Canvas

Priya Kumari

The kid who once found art so boring in his school days has now launched his own creative art group called Imaginary Canvas. He truly exemplifies the spirit of “giving wings to our imagination.” Today, art has become a part of his identity. He is none other than Mr. Abhishek Dey. He is the founder of the first creative art group featuring young artists from across the North East, whose works are mostly based on women’s empowerment. We, at Enigmatic Horizon, recently had a conversation with him along with two other senior heads of this creative group. Join us as we explore more about their innovative team.

EH: Hello, we are glad to have you for a conversation with us. First of all, we would like to know more about you and your journey. What has been your inspiration behind founding Imaginary Canvas?

IC: Hello, my name is Abhishek Dey, and I am the founder and director of the creative group Imaginary Canvas. I am currently employed by the Indian Railways. Initially, I had little interest in painting during my school days; however, I used to draw because my mother blackmailed me into it, saying that if I did, only then would she allow me to watch my favorite TV shows. I’d always been interested in business, so I pursued a degree in commerce. After graduation, I worked as a college teacher at several Assam colleges. But I was dissatisfied with my job, and one day I decided to quit despite earning a decent salary. Despite the fact that I was unemployed and earning nothing at the time, I began exploring art again. And eventually, today, I am able to completely focus on my artistic passion. I began by coloring hoardings, and as time passed, I had the idea to launch Imaginary Canvas. By God’s grace, the company was officially registered in 2016, and operations began in 2018, which are still ongoing.

EH: Can you elaborate on your creative group, Imaginary Canvas, and its main motive?

IC: The name says it all- “Imagination on Canvas.” I founded this group with several professional, skilled, and knowledgeable members who are passionate about women’s empowerment. Darima Das, Kalyani Rabha, and Rishita Basumatary, the group’s three older members, deserve special mention for this. We currently have 130 volunteers in the group, and we hope to have more and more young talent join us in the coming years to showcase their talent. I believe this is one of the first art groups for young people in the entire Northeast. We are always striving to be the go-to platform for artists and photographers. Because we are a non-profit organization, we offer free workshops and art camps for children. We also have a training center, Chitra Kala Kanan, where certified professionals teach people how to do various types of arts based on their abilities. We also hold exhibitions and work with various event organizers. We also have collaborations with various NGOs and institutions. This organization was founded for two reasons. The first is to empower women everywhere, and the second is to help underprivileged youth, especially orphans. Our overarching goal is to educate and support professional artists in both art and photography.

EH: Why only women’s empowerment? Is there any specific reason behind it?

IC: Look, when it comes to development in Assam or the Northeast, we see only Guwahati, whether it’s infrastructure or education. According to my observations, some people in rural areas still have stereotypical attitudes towards women, and as a result, they lag behind in many ways. So, we took the initiative to bring forward these young, talented women in our community and provide them with a platform to become self-sufficient. We recently held exhibitions in Howli, a district of Barpeta, and Hailakandi. People in rural areas, as we discovered, are eager to learn and can work with fewer resources. Nobody can stop them from being successful if they get the right platform. Women from various districts of the state, such as Tangla, Barpeta, Pathshala, Azara, and others, are now working with us, and we want more women from various places to join us, stand up for themselves, and become empowered.

EH: Could you please elaborate on some of your major exhibitions and workshops?

IC: Our first exhibition featured drawings, graphics, photography, and sculptures by a group of aspiring young artists. It was held on July 30, 2018 at the Gauhati Artists Guild. The second was held on May 3, 2019, and the third was held online due to COVID-19. The fourth edition of the exhibition ran from October 24th to October 29th, 2022. We displayed 88 works in the first exhibition and 172 in the second. We also allow children under the age of 12 to exhibit their work here. In addition, there were also well-known artists. Noni Borpujari, Dilip Tamuli (Assam Fine Arts and Crafts Society Acting President and Senior Professor, Government College of Art and Crafts, Assam), Shiva Prasad Marar, Manoj Roy, After Ali Raza, Kishore Kumar Das, and well-known photographers Subhamoy Bhattacharjee and Dr. Basanta Baishya are among these artists. Every month, we hold art and craft workshops, exhibitions, and meetings for the proper development of women and young people.

EH: Could you please elaborate on some of your major events to date?

IC: Yes, we handle both indoor and outdoor events. Our first outdoor event took place along the Brahmaputra River. We collaborated with the River Kite Festival, the Lokmanthan Festival, and the Rongali Festival. I was the creative director of the events. And, most recently, from February 19th to 22nd, we successfully organized the Northeast Kala Mela, for which I served as festival director and Darima Das, one of our senior members, served as assistant director.

EH: You said that you work in collaboration with various NGOs and institutions. Can you shed some light on it, please?

IC: Yes, because it is a non-profit organization, most of our work is collaborative. As a result, organizations such as FASCE India, Kasturi Child Care, the Red Cross Society, the Akshar Foundation, and institutions such as Maharishi Khanamukh, Kidzee Khanamukh, and Shishu Sahaarthi in Birubari greatly assist us.

EH: What message would you like to give to aspiring youths in art and photography as well as the underprivileged in our society?

IC: I’d like to say that if you’re interested in art and photography, you can join our group without any further thought or hesitation. I guarantee that by joining us, you will learn many new things in life. We work as a team here. Even we had preconceived notions earlier about how the women in our team would manage such a large event before joining the group. We used to think this wasn’t for us. By the grace of God, we have completed 4 years and 3 months and have successfully managed some major events. So, we’d like to send this message to all the women in our society don’t feel backed down just because of their gender. We encourage them to come forward and join our group. They will undoubtedly learn and gain valuable insights from our association with them.

EH: Thanks for your insights! We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors! You are doing a great job of developing aspiring artists. We hope your organization goes far and beyond and reaches new pinnacles of glory!

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