Have you ever wondered whatever happens to the huge amount of waste material that is dispelled by each household in Guwahati every day? Once the waste is disposed, we hardly stop to think about it, whether it has been disposed in the proper manner and whether it is causing some environmental hazards. In the backdrop of such a scenario, a young artist has come up in the region practicing “waste art”. Now the concept of waste art is not something new. Waste materials or objects of little use in our day to day life and which are hazardous and likely to cause pollution may be transformed into art objects that can even be installed in places of art.
When we talk about waste art, we remember artistes like Greek contemporary artist Lucas Samaras who constructed boxes of art with knives, razor, blades and other sharp objects and blended them with delicate and sensuous objects like shells and coloured glasses. We also remember the work of Italian artist Rodia in whose art we find a mixed assemblage of ideas.
Nearer home, Manipuri artist Sanajouba Tensuba is one such artist in our midst who is consciousness of the power of waste and how it can be used as an art form to generate a public and art movement. An energetic artist who has manifold contributions in the visual art scene of Manipur, Sanajouba stumbled across the idea of using waste as an art form in his search for a pictorial language to express himself better. He uses waste material of any kind – be it industrial and technical waste material or everyday household objects.
His works contain the broadest and most elaborate metaphor in the form “reconstruction”. One among the very few sensuous and devoted artists to have emerged from the Northeast, each of Sanjouba’s reconstructed art is a visual and aesthetic delight. The artist recently held a solo exhibition of his works in Shilpgram in Guwahati. He said. “I didn’t start as an intentional artist, but the process was initiated as an accidental one. As a creative artist, I see my works as arrested moments of intuitive responses to certain events – both internal and external. I am inspired by events that induce in my mind translatable reactions. And I find this medium at hand the most suitable one to record such reactions.”
He further says, “Since my reactions have an internal dynamics of varied nature, i prefer to work in the mixed media. This style of presentation allows me to translate vibrations, rhythm and gestures into something tangible. I do not see the idea of colour combination as something concrete, but as ways of arresting changes in modes and methods. Hence, I am of the view that red is not only a mere interpreter of danger, but also of beauty.
Having dribbled in various aspects of art for almost a decade before finding the actual power of waste, Sanajouba believes in taking art to the people. Maybe this is the reason behind his fixation for having exhibitions, not only in private and public art galleries, but also in public places. “As an artist, one should not be bound by any kind of chain and should be free to communicate what he wants in any pictorial language with the use of signs and symbols. I want to take my art to the midst of people and maybe in this way, waste can be made into a popular art movement.”
Having won a national scholarship from the Lalit Kala Akademi, Sanjouba’s arts have found their way in private collections in countries like France, Korea, Japan, besides Imphal, Calcutta and New Delhi. He has been honoured with the Manipur State Kala Academy award, Spring festival commendation award by NEZCC at Raj Bhavan in Kohima and the first position award in the All Manipur open painting competition. He has exhibited his art works in solo and group exhibitions all over the country, besides cultural expos and the Guwahati International Trade Fair 2009.