North eastern names of an Indian identity: photorealistic artist Neiphrezo Ezung

That art imitates life is a truth eternally resolute in its universal standing of being indeed a representation of reality. Naturally then, when art finds for itself an immersion even deeper such that pervades the awareness of the senses to imbue also the spirit of entire existences, what unfolds is a classic celebration of it nature as art being the ultimate medium of expression. In the nuances of its flowing thus along strands of such identity, art brings upon itself therefore such masterful strokes of realisation that enriches and enthuses the fore of a wholly cosmopolitan construct in living. It is through the shades of its spanning as shows of the abstract and the aesthetic or as mimickers of more certain episodes and emotions and experiences borrowed sometimes from fantasy or otherwise upon the generally kaleidoscopic narrative in living that art acquires a character of much profoundness- one that is as fun and ‘free’ in its quirks and qualms as it is sought to be exalted a notion in the lofty reaches of a living absolute in its ‘enlightened’, albeit abstracter claim.

The liberties in expression that art allows for though cascade over also a realer reach upon which the identity of existences hinge in their essence. Depicting entire identities in painting proud pictures of unique some elements in this realm of representation are such painters and artists who derive upon the faculties of their own imagination to create fascinatingly real portraits of as fascinating a reality. Photorealism pretty much sums up the genre of defining the works of what Neiphrezo Ezung delivers as part of his repertoire of artistic skills. And while the assuredly real curations of color that make up his canvases of creativity might strike as surprising indeed in their exactness, it also is the identity of Ezung as a self taught artist that makes for another element of surprise dictating his identity of which there need not be any other determinant indeed.

Hailing from the falcon capital of the world, Nagaland artist Neiphrezo Ezung has found in himself an innate flair for the colors of what is a proud bearer of his identity. A Lotha- Angami specification within this realm of resonating finds even more relevance in representing the affinities of this budding talent who has found himself particularly drawn to this drawing- painting mode of the artistic. Starting out as a passionate child of some eight to nine years of age, Ezung has since found himself treading a path that has converged also upon the practical consideration in making art occur also as his professional identity. And in this dual dwelling in significance, that gratifies his soul while attending to the collective aspirations of an entire tribe of people distinctive in their ethnic existence, Neiphrezo Ezung has since imbibed as part of his essence also a greater quality in distinction- of the esteemed pride in standing up for that very identity.

Back when it sparked in him as a hobby, it of course wouldn’t be specific such stuns of similarity with the real world that would stem from out of the consciousness of a young Ezung. Like any other kid fascinated with the beauty that colors hold as part of their ‘profile’, Neiphrezo’s imagination too would play out in ordinary dabbling with the hues in all their painting and coloring and sketching affordability. It would be over the course of time that his interest deepened and his creativity aroused to extents that led this still young but maverick a muser to devote himself heart and soul to this arduous but rewarding exploration of the imagination in a way that inspired also a greater realisation of the worth embedded in his traditional identity.

So vividly occurring to Ezung had been this facet of self expression in which he deciphers the utmost peace in belonginess that art soon became the way of life for this young soul. But so deft would be he in his learning of the tricks of his trade completely by his own that Ezung would soon find himself beckoning an unexpected version of identity. Even when it would be pure passion that stirred continuously the imagination of the lad, the results entailed out of such artistic leanings would tend to be universal indeed a beauty in commendation. And so would accrue out of the seemingly novice ‘expertise’ of Neiphrezo Ezung a recognition that would lead onlookers of his art to covet for themselves a piece of such exquisiteness.

It indeed is as exquisite a sense of pride that Ezung himself harbours in a particular expression of the north east Indian identity that has led him to be so impressive in delivering exactly the resplendence of what he lives through as a Naga at heart. And so has his paintings managed to capture the imagination of one and all, by evoking indeed the essence of what characterise their existence. The language that his paintings speak is one very fluent indeed in the local dialect, resounding in the depths of an utterance proclaiming of its ethnic assertiveness. And it is through this strong strand of plucking that tugs at the very core of the heart that Neiphrezo Ezung has managed to amass for himself a character evidently steeped in the heritage identity of many a Naga tribes.

Neiphrezo Ezung artwork
Source: EastMojo

Most commonly manifesting though as characteristic representation of this uniquely expressive artist would be the cultural trove of the Konyaks upon which Ezung draws freely as part of his painted sensibilities. It would be the peculiar appeal nestled in the identity of this tribe emerging in their own discrete distinction as the headhunters of Nagaland that would stir the curiosities of this truly representative artist. And thus he would come to portray very prominently different aspects of this trail of ethnicity- in their lifestyles and traditional attires or even in their very defining raw look, and indeed as well in the unmissable visage of their discernible tattooed identity and also in the depiction of their headhunting practises as a continuing lineage in proud bearing.

Like his greater depiction of the Konyaks even while being representative of many an other ethnic groups and tribes within the Naga description, Ezung’s artistic style also is more scouted in the classical strokes of the painted. He dabbles as well in other explorations of the art, much like he does also in different forms of his painting even when portraits occur as the domain of defining by and large his artistic awareness. But palpable along these different dimensions of his rendition in what entices as art is still the very devoted allegiance to an identity out of which he emerges in all distinction.

A combination of dark and light themes essentially represent the artistic character of Neiphrezo Ezung- though not merely in conjuring the appeal of the esthetics. The dark background is a very deliberate attempt in referencing the old days of the Naga ancestors even as the lighter representation strives to paint a standout picture of the subject focussed upon. His treading the route of the traditional extends as well to times more recent but ‘ancient’ still in prescribing to a pre technology era definition. It also is this natural fondness that Ezung harbours for the times and days and existences that have been that is what he believes had led him to find relevance with many a others like him who take as immense pride in their Naga legacy. His looking up for artistic inspiration too is as diverse a meandering in itself- from the eminent Buddhi Thapa to the emerging but recognised still Vithuse Temi and the similarly stemming Vineizotuo Tase, Ezung’s seeking of standards to emulate in creativity of his own accord too is as multifaceted a dawning.

It is such aspirations indeed to emerge as as true an artist in recreating the golden days of a cherished Naga existence that Ezung has seen such repute following his person that has helped him pursue his heartfelt passion as an equally ‘sustainable’ profession. The leap of faith that he himself made by opting to leave studies during his higher secondary days in favour of taking up painting full time indeed was a challenge that he consciously decided to deal with. But even otherwise it would be more ‘ingrained’ issues in the form of experiencing creative roadblocks or facing distractions whether of external or internal arising that would challenge also a young Ezung still expanding the avenues of his command through his characteristic splash of the colors.

It indeed is a testament to the resolute belief of Ezung in his talent as well as the continuous effort through which he has sustained himself that helped him comfortably overcome all difficulties. His family and friends have been a constant source of motivation for him and it is primarily through the word of mouth publicity gained out of his personal associations that Neiphrezo Ezung has succeeded in thriving as an artist of full fledged measure. His commissioned works brought about through such accounts as well as over the convenient trails of social media has led him to sell well over some 20 pieces of art, commanding prices anywhere in the range of a 15,000 to some 50,000 Indian rupees.

Beyond this strand in stepping up to the proud Naga identity, it also is Ezung’s belief in God that plays out in his depictions through the medium of the arts. As someone without any professional training to fall back on, it shouldn’t be surprising that Neiphrezo sees his artistry as a God gifted endowment for which he is forever grateful. A Christian by religion, the artist has also a discrete set of his creation occur as Christian art even as natural though not necessarily divine objects of waterfalls and sceneries and the like too are portrayed as part of his more personal working with the colors.

Digital art too excites his artistic sensibilities even when he continues to be rather exclusive in making a flourish through the traditional medium of the brush. Outside such ‘truer’ explorations of art, Ezung’s range of interest touches upon everything from the related fore of photoshop to the more diverse arena of online gaming on one hand and EDM music on the other even as activities like swimming and cycling and the like sum up the exertion on his physical being. Art though rules sure and certain through the greater part of his life and in such capacity that brought upon him recognition indeed. His works have been put up for display at the Nagaland Art Centre, an Art Gallery in IMC Hall, Dimapur even as he had been one among the top three emerging artists selected for a tour to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Hongkong from out of 11 such aspirants who had attended a master art workshop conducted in collaboration with the institute. Neiphrezo Ezung’s immense belief in the power of art as silent poetry indeed is what has led him to be making waves with his creations, as an amateur steeped though in all intricacies of creating what is art of the most surreal kind indeed.