How many of us can confidently claim about being content with life? In this competitive world where people are busy running the rat race, satisfaction has become an illusion. But for Sewon Rai it has become reality. In fact, through his sheer determination and hard work he has ‘earned’ satisfaction from life. A born artist, Sewon, however, realized what his heart wants, later when he grew up. 

Born to parents Neeta Rai and Prem Kumar Rai of Gangtok, the 25-year-old completed his schooling from Tashi Namgyal Senior Secondary School, Gangtok. After this, Sewon chose to pursue Bachelors in Fine Arts from the Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship, Kolkata. Currently, he is pursuing his Masters in Fine Arts (with painting as specialization) from the prestigious Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.
“I was creative since childhood. But of late, I have started considering myself as an artist. At present I am living my dream and extremely contented with life,” states Sewon, whose artworks are sombre yet powerful as his personality. 
Below are the excerpts from an exclusive interview between Sewon and ETChronicle

ETC: Firstly, How did you get involved with art? How did you become an artist?

SR: I have been an artist by birth- maybe! I was not good in studies but was good at art. I participated in many school and state-level painting competitions. My artworks were appreciated by many and also won many awards and prizes. My interest in art grew intense and I finally ended up taking it seriously and decided to pursue an education in fine arts. Lately, I have realized I am an artist (laughs). 
Taking up formal education in fine arts has made me understand the real world of art has made me more passionate about the subject.

ETC: What is ‘art’ according to you?

SR: Art for me is all about the process, intellectuality, experimentation in many forms and discovering something mysterious and at the end which provides me with real gratification. At this juncture, every art has variations and is doing well, but art definitely depends on how one would like to deliver his mind and work.

ETC: How has your style of art and painting changed over the years? Briefly tell us about your artworks?

SR: See, every artist has their forte (or maybe not). Like, I do not exactly have a very specific dominant specialization but currently, I am more into experimental. I am into being an ‘expressionist’.
Initially, I was into realistic paintings like painting landscapes and common ordinary objects. But now I am more into contemporary modern paintings, precisely into combining elements of surrealism, conceptual, neo-impressionist artworks, etc. When I started with Bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA), paintings of Renaissance and Baroque influenced me a lot, the linear perspective, the pyramidal composition, discovery of chiaroscuro, using strong frontal light on the main picture and keyed colours on the dark brownish background in front of the brightest light creating unique dramatic effects, playing different shades and tone in dark background, well finished without visible brushstrokes attracted and inspired me a lot. 
Currently, I work with various unconventional and multimedia medium and my subjects keep changing. I also cannot work in a single medium for a long period of time. The reasons behind this relate to the never-ending changes of my surroundings and the perpetual change in the flow of nature. Some of my subjects are based on a dystopian vision of the world, the Wars and Annihilated scenes which somehow make way into my works and I further explore it experimentally with different mediums and processes. I try to address various vital issues like a socio-political anomaly, identity, historical facts of wars and unjust stories in my artwork. I also try to portray various emotions like sadness, suffering, anguishes, etc. though my works.
I use materials such as handmade papers (popularly known as the algeri or lokta paper), old books, torn clothes, canvases, mount board, digital paper prints, acrylic gloss gel medium for transferring images, different coloured inks, acrylics colours, rejected objects/ tools etc to create art. Usually, the use of these various materials is unconscious, allowing accidents which result in unexpected forms otherwise unseen.
At present, the surrounding materials/objects have directly become the subject of my works. Useless, rusted, rejected objects lying around my everyday surrounding, I find them mysterious and wonder at their unknown story. Things which are easily breakable, rejected woods, tin trunk, etc. generally used by the middle class stands symbolically. For me, the trunk is not only a trunk but a movable home. We used it to carry our materials whenever and wherever we move. For some, there is no moving without it.

ETC: Tell us about the art events you have participated/attended so far?

SR: I have attended my state and national level exhibitions so far, viz, Lalit Kala Akademi 58th National Exhibition of Art (2017); All India EMAMI Annual Art Exhibition at Kolkata, West Bengal (2017); State Academy Art Exhibition at Kolkata, West Bengal (2017); 9th State Level Painting Competition at Gangtok, Sikkim (2016); Nehru Yuva Kendra State Level Painting Competition at Gangtok , Sikkim (2015); R.Y.B Group Exhibition at Siliguri, West Bengal (2015); Winter Carnival Painting Exhibition at Gangtok, Sikkim (2014); INDRENI Painting Exhibition at Namchi, Sikkim (2014); Himalayan Art Stroke at Gangtok , Sikkim (2014) and The Annual Art Exhibition of ‘The Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship’, Kolkata (2010, 2011,2012, 2013).

Among workshops I have attended Conservation and Restoration of Paintings organized by Directorate of Archaeology and Museums Govt. of West Bengal at Gaganendra Pradarshashala, K.I.C Complex, Kolkata; National Painting Workshop at Kalakshetra, Guwahati, Assam; Peaceful Co-existence and Creativity workshop at Guwahati , Assam; Lalit Kala International mural painters camp at Kerala,India and Enamel Painting Workshop at The Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship, Kolkata.

All these exhibitions and workshops have helped me to be the artist I am today. Some way or the other all these events have contributed to make me a true artist today may be (smiles).

ETC: You have won many accolades and awards in art, which most of us don’t know. Please tell us about it.

SR: (laughs) Actually, no artist or talent really works passionately for an award. Also, no artist would ever return to the award or appreciation if one’s work is being appreciated and applauded. Some of my works have made me win awards. I was conferred with Rajya Charukala Parshad Award under the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, Government of West Bengal (2016). I also received the Certificate of Merit at the Annual Exhibition of Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata (2015). Biraj Mohan Dutta Memorial Best Award (Gold medal) was also conferred to me in the year 2014 in a function held at Manab Jamin, Kolkata. Lastly, Certificate of Merit at the Annual Art Exhibition of The Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship, Kolkata (2012).

ETC: We don’t see many organizations in the state of Sikkim for artists. Please tell us about your relationship with any art-related organization in Sikkim or outside and highlight a few motives about them?

SR: There was no such art-related organization in Sikkim before but fortunately we have one now, its Oviya Art Circle, Sikkim which is an apex body for all the artists of Sikkim and is registered under Government of Sikkim. I am one of the members of the organization. The main motive of the Oviya Art Circle is to promote arts and artistic talents of the state of Sikkim.

ETC: Who do you draw your inspiration from? Who motivates you to follow your passion the most?

SR: My parents have always been my biggest strength, unlike many parents who fail to understand their child’s dream and passion. My parents have understood my passion and helped me follow it intensely for which I am really grateful to them. Apart from parents, there are many souls who have always been around to motivate me to do more in the field of art. Deepa Rai (Former Miss Sikkim, 2015) and Devika Gurung have always supported and believed in my dreams and passion and have always been around with their words of confidence and motivation.
Above all-everything around, ups and the lows, good and the evil and many circumstances around me have always inspired me.

ETC Tell us about your future plans and aspirations?

SR: I really don’t have any future plans and regulations as such. I am just living in present. I am focusing and giving every bit of me toward my artworks and I believe that the hard work I pay now will tell my future.

ETC: Any message to aspiring artists?

SR: During the ancestral time our forefathers had ample time because of less work to actually do but today at this globalized juncture, where technology is advancing rapidly, we don’t have much time for leisure or to live someone’s life. Rather, we all should work hard enough and be real and become an individual with a unique identity. So, work hard and don’t opt for shortcuts and please say no to drugs.

The artworks of Sewon can be found at Saatchionline :; Instagram:

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