Sewon Rai’s dystopian vision of world

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MOCKING BIRD, SEWON RAI; (THE WORK THAT GOT HIM THE FIRST TAKE AWARD IN 2019) | COURTESY ABIR
Sewon Rai | abirindia.org

“Problems emerging from our socio-political scenario leading to a questionable system we live in, occupy my thoughts and get reflected in my ideas and works. Many of my subjects are based on the dystopian vision of the world, the Wars, and scenes of annihilation”

– SEWON RAI

Sewon Rai was one of ten winners of the First Take award in 2019. When we asked him to share his journey and experience after winning the award, this was his reply:

“I usually work with various unconventional materials and multimedia. Also, I do not work in a single medium for a long period of time and consequentially my subjects keep changing. Currently, the everyday materials/objects in my surroundings are directly becoming the subject of my work. I find useless, rusted, rejected objects lying around me mysteriously and wonder at their unknown story.

Untitled (one of his works featured in the First Take 2019 exhibition) |  Abir India

The ideas of my poppies series are taken from my personal experiences as well as my local surroundings. The seasonal poppy flower on barren land comes from my childhood memories. The landscape I make and the flowers I paint stand as a metaphor for blood and the aftermath of wars, which I see happening today. The Scarlet bloody beauty of hundreds and thousands of red poppies could be tears, could be blood, or could be simply poppies growing unnaturally and covering the barren land. It also has reference to John McCrae’s “Field of Flanders”, a poem written during the First World War which has long stood as a symbol of remembrance. The poppies encircle creating not only a spectacular visual but also a location for personal reflection. The painting is intended to reflect the magnitude of such suffering and loss and create a powerful visual commemoration.”

You can find a few of Sewon’s works on Abirspace.com.

Sewon Rai was born on April 7, 1991, in Sikkim. In the year 2014, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from The Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship, Kolkata. He completed his post-graduation in painting from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata in 2017. For the year 2017-18, he received Lalitkala National Research Scholarship in the field of Painting in Kolkata. After winning the First Take prize in 2019, he participated in NEZCC, a painting workshop at Dimapur, Nagaland. In the same year, he also held a solo exhibition at People’s Studio in Sikkim. Apart from that, he was also a participant at 100 Yuva Sumbhava 2022, a group art exhibition held by the Raza Foundaton in Delhi this year.

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