The inmates of Guwahati Central Jail picked up brushes and colour palettes to exhibit their hidden talents on the canvas. Pranati Sinha reports
Art must be life — it must belong to everybody. How rightly said by Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic. Following it, Hari Prasad Talukdar, an art teacher at the Guwahati Central Jail thought of providing the artistically-inclined convicts with a better platform to showcase their talent and for the first-time-ever organized an exhibition in the jail premises.
“The concept of jail has changed over the years. Earlier people thought of jail as a negative space but now, it is regarded as a place for rehabilitation where the convicts come and take up the path of change; a change which will help them to lead a good life when they leave this place,” said Talukdar. The exhibition was organised from June 2nd, 2019 to June 4th, 2019.
He added, “To host an art exhibition in the jail was always on my agenda. When I discovered some great artists among the prisoners, I decided to give it a shot. Through the exhibition, the convicts got a platform to showcase their creativity. My motive is to prepare them for a bright future ahead.”
Over 43 convicts participated in the exhibition with great enthusiasm. For Talukdar, the icing on the cake is that the Gauhati Artists’ Guild has offered to display the art of the prisoners through an exhibition. At the end of the exhibition, prizes were given to the top three best art pieces and the awardees were Bishnu Narzary, Kamal Musahari and Nitul Doimary.
Kishore Kumar Das, general secretary, Gauhati Artist’s Guild who was invited as a guest for the closing ceremony of the exhibition was quite impressed by the creativity showcased by the convicts. He now aims to boost the creative temperament of the prisoners who can contribute to society through their art.
“I was moved by their inclination towards art and I immediately proposed to the jail authorities that if the convicts continue painting then I will host an exhibition for them in the Gauhati Artists Guild where they will get a platform to interact with the outside world with which they have lost all contact,” Das said.
The art exhibition and competition were held by the art and literary committee of Central Jail to spread awareness among the convicts on protecting the environment. Jail superintendent Ranjit Baishya and jailor Ranjit Buragohain were also present at the prize distribution ceremony.
“Art stays with us for life. They (the prisoners) are lodged in jail for an offence but art can change their minds and bring positivity to their lives,” said Talukdar.