Por Lyiur: An Art Exhibition that Transcends Boundaries

Art is a path towards rediscovery, as was showcased through the unveiling of Por Lyuir, reports Yoshwameki Ropmay

By Yoshwameki Ropmay 

“Puri” by Xander Stragier
Musical Mystic: Meghalaya’s Landscape as a House of Rainfall by Poushali Das

Por Lyiur means ‘Summer Time’ in the Khasi language and the flux in the usual climate patterns of Meghalaya set out to provide a collective hope that was conveyed in the various artworks and an inspiration for the title of an art show. Meghalaya became a place of inspiration for artists participating in the International Art Residency called Artists’ Point. Por Lyiur, an art exhibition was organised by the Picasso Pupils hosted by the Shillong Public School and supported by the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan – State Education Mission Authority of Meghalaya (SSA-SEMAM) along with the Department of Tourism, Government of Meghalaya. Sunday Shillong embarked on the undertaking to understand how the exquisite beauty of the bamboo forests, along with the landscape and the captivating cultural traditions of the state became a source of inspiration for creative ideas and themes of the art show. During the residency, the artists tried to capture the state’s intrinsic nature in the present, which is also reflected in the title of the art show ‘Por Lyiur.’ The artists responded via an open call on the internet and the selected few were then afforded the opportunity to immerse themselves in the enchanting embrace of the state’s natural essence. A diverse group were chosen from Belgium, Austria, Slovakia, Nepal and India, spending their time in Ri Bhoi district for a month that eventually culminated into the art exhibition held at Eldorado Guest House on Friday, May 19.

Engaging with one of the attendees at the art exhibition, Ardon said that art was eternal and lives beyond us even after death. “It is a medium that knows no language, transcends all physical or psychological boundaries and is able to represent not the outward appearance of things but instead

“Magenta Pool” by Xander Stragier

their inward significance.” he added. An interaction with the different artists from various parts of the world helped the attendees understand that

Overview of the event

while pain and suffering is universal, it is the longingness to want to be understood, that we yearn for. One paints, not so that the world can understand us, but it is done so that one understands themselves better; to be able to be inspired by the natural surroundings, to be able to dive deep into what the local culture can offer and to be able to bring all of that onto a canvas brings about a sense of calm.

“The idea of this exhibition is to showcase Meghalaya to the native people from the outsiders point of view; to make them look at something that is very familiar in an inspirational way,” explained Jana Bednarova, the curator of the event and part of the organising team. “This was also an opportunity for the artists to go back home and take along with them, their experiences of Meghalaya and the memories that they had gathered, continuing their art practice with a new inspiration that had been sourced from the misty hills of the

Musical Mystic: Meghalaya’s Landscape as a House of Rainfall by Poushali Das

state,” she added. It was also a perfect bedrock to showcase to the world, the part of the country that is not known in the international spaces, breaking all barriers of prejudice that would have been otherwise forged. Extensive workshops are also conducted for the rural school children throughout the district of Ri Bhoi. The residents exchanged their knowledge along with the students and the teachers, teaching them new ways of learning through joy and creative art processes.

The artists with the Chief Guest Swapnil Tembe, IAS, Director of School Education and Literacy, State Project Director, SSA-SEMAM

Most of the painters used the medium of canvas by acrylic to produce their creative works. However, special materials were also brought along by the artists to add that extra bit of magical touch. Poushali Das, an artist from Kolkata, selected for the residency programme, for example, had her paintings made by ink on handmade or bamboo paper wherein she experimented with gold ink brought by her. “I wanted to look for the essence of spirit and spiritual places in art which can be found in humans themselves,” she says. The medium of photography, videography and writing by Michael Prandstatter, another artist from Vienna, were also displayed at the exhibition. He captured moments during his month-long visit and his thoughts were displayed in the art video that was shown. “I wanted to capture the aspect of time moving slowly and that is represented in my video; the moving body was also a source of inspiration for me during this visit,” Prandstatter says.

The exhibition provided a perfect opportunity for showcasing the manner in which art and culture can be promoted in the state by getting different artists not only from various parts of the country but also from abroad, to come together and disseminate knowledge and experience that can be shared and exchanged. “The exhibition was a delightful curation of artworks that reflected the different artists’ interaction with the landscape in Meghalaya.” said an attendee at the event. The young art enthusiasts coming to see the displays were given a chance to interact with the resource artists around them and their shared struggles and hopes of being able to make it as an artist makes this event not only a success but also one that people will look forward to.

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