Bhubaneswar: One of Odisha’s most prominent artists, Dibyush Jena, known by his stage name Yantrapurush, has established himself as an ambassador of Odia art, culture and evolution in the creative field.
Having created a number of murals and installations, the 26-year-old young lad had a journey that is not less than any adventure.
While artists usually find their calling at a very young age, Dibyush played with colours way late during his engineering days at Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology in 2010.
He always had an affiliation towards symmetry and illustrations since schools days and later enjoyed drawing up engineering assignments for other students.
However, he got his first breakthrough as an artist in 2012 when he started off with ‘The Broken Scooter’ (webzine) where he met two other art enthusiasts. This was the very first time when he felt like a professional artist as most of the amateurs begin with basics, he began with big canvasses and was intrigued by the colours, patterns, textures and their natures.
While the trio remained unnamed for long, an interview following a graffiti of Bruce Lee with ‘Bam’ inscribed on it made them come up with the name- ‘The Bam Effect’.
In 2014, he did an internship with ‘World Comics India’ after which he also got associated with India Surf Festival in 2016. But according to him, World Comic India changed everything for him including his perspective towards life and the way he sees life.
However, as soon as his engineering course completed at CIPET, his father wanted him to pursue higher education, or at least prioritise the conventional career. Being the brilliant student that he is, Dibyush agreed to do by keeping art limited to just a hobby. But he had made up his mind to go let the artist alive. So as soon as he left for Delhi for coaching, he started building himself up as an artist as whatever the situation was “art always came first”.
Though he got the much-needed exposure in the nation’s capital, deep down he knew Odisha is the place where he belonged.
The recognition and the acknowledgement drove him towards his passion convincing him to make it his career. These reasons were not only a catalyst to what he is today but were also intoxicating for him. He “Love it and want it” still.
Though Dibyush did not go through an array of hurdles as this way of life just came randomly to him, he had his fair share of struggle.
Dibyush, during his initial days as a solo artist, was called ‘Rangamistri’ when people did not understand his skills. All thanks to his childhood bestie, Ved Prakash, he always had someone who had his back. Ved also gave him his first solo project in 2015 at Hotel Kesari near Master Canteen.
Dibyush, who has always been a proud Odia, was intrigued toward the state’s culture after his visit to Nabakalebara event in Puri. Witnessing the grand event and the Rath Yatra from the King’s Royal Palace, amidst the sea of pilgrims and the sounds of conches and cymbals, he found his calling. This ultimately leads him to research on the cult of Jagannath, its evolution and even the history of Odisha.
While the intrigued lad always experimented with things, one of the most interesting incidents happened at 2016 Surf Fest where he created his first installation. With the help of a few volunteers, he managed to build an installation named ‘Orifice’ out of some bamboo, dried twigs and branches of a tree which cost him just Rs 64 precisely.
But the three-day event did not end for him there as on the final day he wanted to create a stage show with the perfect climax. So there he stood with a bottle of kerosene and a matchbox in his hands, ready to set his piece ablaze and let it float in the high tides when a stranger, precisely a visitor of the fest, walked up to him and asked for the price of the installation. While the piece was made with just above Rs 60 it got sold for Rs 10,000 within a few minutes.
The year 2016-2017 was a good year for Dibyush as he was engrossed in his work including graffiti designing, public art in Gopalpur, and Echoes of Earth in Bengaluru. Besides, he also learnt a lot about life, fell in love with nature, lived in a wildlife Sanctuary and much more. He then became a part of Detour Odisha in 2018.
What made him create his own signature style was his experiments with Pattachitra. Considering Pattachitra as a design language, he believes that the art form is not just about deities and is not limited to mythology.
The Pattachitra art form is known for its intricate details as well as mythological narratives and folktales inscribed in it and is one of the ancient art forms of Odisha. Incorporating various digital and modern elements to it, he wants to take the art to the next level.
He also believes that art can be saved by taking it to the future because if the upcoming generation will recognise the art form and its history it will evolve.
“Everything one sees can be pictured in Pattachitra” And this motivates him to experiment with the art because according to him you can revolutionise illustrations for children that will ultimately change the way they think and also appreciate the art form.
But his Pseudonym, “Yantrapurush”, inspired by a Pattachitra, came to existence not long ago. Interestingly, the Pattachitra painting talks about extraterrestrial visitors decades ago, precisely Two months before India got its independence.
The artist whose love for places made him join the Odisha Bloggers Trail recently is aiming to establish himself as a legend in his field, so much, so that the new generation recognises him for his work.
Currently getting ready for his upcoming exhibition in Bhubaneswar this year, the Yantrapurush also wants to build his own studio that will not only be a space for different artists to interact with but also where new talents will get a platform to share their work.
An entrepreneur at heart, Dibyush had a short yet a long journey to become the Yantrapurush. He not only followed his passion and successfully turning it into his profession but now have also received his parents’ support.
Intrigued by Odisha’s rich culture, Dibyush has come a long way and is still learning about the unique culture and how it can be revolutionalised.
By Ananya Pattnaik