Gauhati Artists’ Guild: Creating a Niche in NE Artistic Horizons

Guwahati, July 10 (PTI): Driven by a zeal to establish an independent identity for artists in the North East region and to create a space where creativity transcends borders, a group of like-minded creators came together 46 years ago to create the Gauhati Artists’ Guild (GAG).

Prominent artists such as Benu Misra, Neel Pawan Baruah, Asu Dev and Rajen Hazarika, founding members of GAG, helped to direct the contemporary art form to become a blend of regional traditions and modernism.

It was on July 11, 1976, that a motley group of established, self-taught, and even aspiring artists as well as prominent intellectuals came together to lay the foundations for an institution where art flourished, new talent emerged. emerged and very defined and distinctive artistic styles and forms were created, GAG President Aminul Haque told PTI.

The journey began in the premises rented by the eminent folklorist Dr Birendranath Datta whose love for the fine arts is legendary. Now, GAG has its own permanent complex with state-of-the-art facilities like an art gallery, seminar room, studio, and classrooms.

It was a long and arduous journey fraught with pitfalls, pain, anguish and momentary despair. But the founding members’ undiluted passion and unwavering commitment to art overcame all odds, emerging as the region’s leading cultural organization, said Haque who was a young artist in 1976.

Shortly after its establishment, GAG began to organize courses for children in order to fulfill the double objective of promoting a vibrant artistic culture among young people and providing resources.

This formed the basis for many artists who then created a space in the national and international artistic scenario, Secretary Kishore Kumar Das told PTI.

GAG has definitely created a niche in the cultural horizons of the region, made possible not only by the efforts of its members, but also thanks to the collective goodwill of cultural and literary figures, governmental, private organizations, companies and public sector, among others, he said.

The permanent Guild complex was built with the support of PSUs like Numaligarh Refinery Limited, Oil India Limited and several government departments and organizations.

The Guild’s annual art exhibition, which opens on its founding day, is an event that any local art lover looks forward to.

This year, as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, a three-day artists’ workshop was held and the works produced will be exhibited at the exhibition, Das said.

GAG’s Golden Jubilee is fast approaching and plans are underway to ring it in with a myriad of activities including holding expos and seminars across the state, region and country. .

We plan to publish a special issue of our annual magazine compiling articles that reflect the history of art and artists in the region, Das said.

Books on art and a film on the Guild, retracing its 50-year journey, will also be produced for the occasion.

“We have also started the process of creating an art school and hope that this will be possible in the next few years,” he said.

Renowned artists like Noni Borpuzari, Kishore Das, Utpal Barua, Deben Dewan, Paranbonti Devi Madhusudhan Das and others had their first contact with art at the Guild and then pursued their passion in the country’s leading art institutions such as Sir JJ School, Visva-Bharati, Rabindra Bharati University and MS University.

I studied art at the Sir JJ School of Art and Architecture, but the Guild is an integral part of my life. I have traveled the world to attend workshops, but interacting at the Guild with artists older than us has shaped my growth as an artist, said Noni Borpuzari.

GAG’s role in creating artists, creating space and building community together in furthering the cause of art is immense and will live on forever, he said.

GAG currently has over 75 practicing artists as members and a huge roster of students.