An emerging artist from the Khasi hills of Meghalaya, Treibor Mawlong’s woodcuts epitomize mise-en-scène compositions drawn forth from memory and recollection. The world’s physical and emotional apparatus serve as inspiration for Mawlong, who relies on autobiographical experience to identify and then articulate larger stories about the human condition. As a draughtsman, his visual language borrows from the medium of comic books, which have a narrative textuality embedded, and typically apparent, in them. These still images are rendered with thoughtful details and layered with expressionistic plot, resulting in frames of Mawlong’s unique perception as he considers human narratives of passion, honor, love, pride, grief, loss and change.
In this recent series of woodcuts, Mawlong recognizes the dignity of labour amidst issues of poverty, lack of education, inaccessibility to healthcare and infrastructure and a disconnection from the modern world in the Meghalayan village of Mawbri, situated in the remote district of Mawkyrwat. He observes the predominantly agricultural locals who survive off the land through the cultivation and production of medicinal black pepper and finds them engaged in their labour with passion and honesty. Coupled with the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, which informs Mawlong’s understanding of social distancing in an already remote part of the country, he explores the meaning of human lives at a fundamental level through both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in 1987 in Meghalaya, Treibor Mawlong completed a bachelor’s and master’s in fine arts in painting from Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan. He has participated in several solo and group exhibitions, including the Fumetto Festival, Lucerne (2019); Akar Prakar, New Delhi (2019); Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2018, 2016); the Indian Museum, Seoul (2016); Meghalaya Art Fest, Shillong (2014–2016); Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2014), among several others. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Inlaks Fine Arts Award, Mumbai, 2014; the Talented Young Artist Award, Dimapur, 2014; the Lalit Kala Akademi Scholarship Grant, New Delhi, 2012–13; and the Kala Sakshi Memorial Trust Award, New Delhi, 2011. He has also completed art residencies at the Harmony Art Foundation, Mumbai, in 2015 and at What About Art, Mumbai, supported by the Inlaks India Foundation, in 2014. The artist lives and works in Mawbri, Meghalaya.