Colours of Caution | Teen artist’s canvases shine light on drug addiction

Pulwama, Jan 10: These are not mere wrinkles, but each deep and thick fold etched on his skin has a vast experience of life hidden in it, says Mohsin Fayaz pointing at a painting hanging on a wall inside his dingy workroom.

Mohsin, 17, of Lajoora village, 5 km from south Kashmir’s Pulwama town, has a penchant for mixing colours and drawing different hues of life since he was six years old.

Before holding an art brush in his delicate and wiry fingers, Mohsin would draw his observations on paper, cardboard, and even bare walls, using crayons.

It was followed by making brushes out of shrubs and dipping them arbitrarily in any colour and paint.

However, it was during 2021, when the entire world was caught in COVID-19 crosshairs that the young artist shifted all his focus to his art and learnt the colour combinations and other materials used in the art form online.

“I watched a flurry of videos online and learnt a good deal of things about the colours,” Mohsin said.

Now, he mostly uses acrylic colours, and also creates oil paintings while choosing his themes carefully. The walls of his workroom are embellished with multiple paintings, conveying rather serious and meaningful messages.

The dominant themes of his paintings are old age, substance abuse, and the people grappling with mental health issues.

Mohsin has drawn a series of paintings on old age, depicting people with silver locks, saggy skin and deep furrows on their brows and cheeks.

He has attempted to showcase the treasure of experience concealed in their wrinkles.

“I have recently completed the series and I feel that I have done justice with my theme,” Mohsin said.

He has drawn many paintings on other themes as well.

In one of his oil paintings, Mohsin has painted a man with a fag put in between his lips.

In another painting, the same person in old age is shown rolling a cannabis joint.

The young artist has tried to depict how a cigarette becomes a gateway for drugs.

He has also drawn an old woman taking opioids.

“The idea behind portraying elderly people taking drugs is to show that once a person is caught in the trap of drugs, it becomes rather challenging for him to extricate himself from it,” he said.

Mohsin has won accolades at both district and state level for his work and he attributes his success to his school.

“After class 10th, I enrolled myself in Government Higher Secondary School, Koil, where I got a chance to showcase my artistic skills,” he said.

Mohsin said that he was encouraged by his teachers to take part in different painting competitions where he secured first place.

However, he said that to reach to a larger section of people and art lovers, he wanted to hold exhibitions at the district and state level.

“And for this initiative, I need some financial assistance from the administration as managing it on my own will be quite challenging as a student,” Mohsin said.


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