Blending: Thokchom Sony on Incorporating Manipuri Culture in His Art

"Art is an expression of what we think, we feel and imagine in our hearts," says Thokchom Sony, a passionate artist, as he takes his art into a whole new level.


Thokchom Sony
Thokchom Sony

Thokchom Sony Found Art at an early age, using it to express his Manipuri culture and tradition. The enthusiasm and the passion he has for drawings gave him the confidence to pursue art. “I started drawing and painting since the time I was 3-4 years old. Drawing was my favourite activity. Now, this has become my profession,” he says. He practises fine art, draws conceptual art, illustrate dreams and paint ideas. His style of art is figurative, portrait based and linear with a touch of fashion and tradition. While figurative work appeals to him for its human element, he enjoys incorporating his Manipuri traditions in his works. “My conceptual, narrative compositions are significantly based on Manipuri culture because it’s a part of me. Manipur is my identity and my root. I want to bring out the unique and colourful traditions of Manipur through my works,” he added.


A Manipuri Girl in Traditional Manipuri Shawl







Having studied fine arts from Jamia Millia Islamia, Thokchom Sony started his career from scratch- working as a freelance artist during his graduation to illustrating graphic novels and children story books. For the past three years he has been painting his own ideas and concepts carrying out commissioned arts and fashion illustrations for fashion designers. The pristine natural environments of North-East India, Manipuri Traditions, Urban Fashion and Music are the primary attributes that inspired his Art works.

This 28 years old Artist is now teaching Art and Pre-productions at Anwar Jamal Kidwai Mass Communication Research Center, Jamia Millia Islamia (AJKMCRC). The enthusiasm and passion that he once focused on his hobby is now devoted to his profession. His Art is a blend of Fashion, Tradition and cultural elements. Experimenting with different mediums of painting is one of his passions. He does both digital paintings for prints and original arts on canvas and papers. His works highlights especially on details and authenticity.

“I absolutely love working in details, especially with hair, eyes and patterns. I find natural skin tones with freckles, moles and blush so beautiful. I love to incorporate traditional elements like chandon on nose, tanakha on cheeks. This helps in bringing out the originality and ethnicity in the art”, he exclaimed.

Charang_color samjet_v2

He loves to recreate new characters using references from photographs of people. His sketches are based on friends and people around him. He would also take inspirations from insects, animals, wild plants, mountains etc. “I studied a lot with actual people in drawing expressions, constructions and gestures. I would sketch them out and later add elements and narration,” he says. One of his most important works is creation of bold and beautiful women in portraits. “I want to empower women. I want to inspire people and encourage women to be strong, unique, be themselves and be free. My work is a message about celebrations of the natural beauty of women. I believe in equality”, he says.

Sangai Thoiba

His favourite aspiring artists include Laishram Meena Devi, Abhishek Mankotia, Naresh Meetei and Kashish Rabbani. Currently he is experimenting and recreating the traditional Manipuri textiles and Potloi (Manipuri cylindrical skirt worn by bride and Raas leela dancers). He would love to collaborate with fashion designers to create these Potlois in future. “I want to exhibit the idea that we can wear our traditional dresses anywhere in the world,” he says. He wishes to explore the different cultures of his neighbouring states in coming days and bring out the essence of ethnicity through his works.



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For more updates about his brilliant artworks follow Thokchom Sony on Facebook 

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