“Every good painter paints what he is.” — Jackson Pollock
Introducing our bubbly and talented artist Florence Lohu from Nagaland. A self-taught watercolorist, her work truly is magnificent – in the way, she fills the hearts and minds of her viewers. I find her work truly artistic, and equally informative.
Among her numerous sketches, the ones that stand out are the colorful illustrations on Nagaland, which have been, by far, the most captivating medium to learn about the numerous Naga tribes – and their one-of-a-kind array of costumes. To get a better sense of what I am talking about, I invite you to read on as I chat with Florence – and give you a glimpse of her artwork.
Chat with watercolorist Florence Lohu from Nagaland, known for her colorful illustrations on various tribes of Nagaland.
Supong: Hi Florence, welcome to R&L! Please introduce yourself.
Florence: Hi! I am Florence Lohu, a self-taught aspiring watercolorist. I belong to the Mao Naga tribe and was born and brought up in Kohima Nagaland. I am currently freelance as an artist doing mainly watercolor paintings (I do commission works).
I have a Master’s degree in Sociology from Ambedkar University Delhi but I am presently painting. I certainly am not living the dream (yet?) 😅 but I am always grateful for what I have been able to do with my artworks.
A Naga Woman in a formal outfit – wearing Mekhela and Traditional Necklace | Commission work by Watercolorist Florence Lohu.
Supong: How would your friends describe you?
Florence: Creative, soft-spoken, and Lambu (I am 5.6’/7’). I am surely leaving out other names!!😄
Supong: Introduce us to your work – and what got u started?
Florence: My work is mostly based on painting portraits and painting numerous traditional costumes worn by tribes and people of Northeast India. I have a page on Instagram by the name ‘FloArt.’ I have also had the opportunity to showcase my artwork at the 7th Northeast Festival 2019 held in Delhi, and consecutively at the 8th Northeast Festival 2020 held in Guwahati.
Few occasions like these, and with the help of amazing people around me have given my work some exposure. I am truly grateful for them. I cannot be specific about what first sparked my love for painting but I have been creatively inclined since childhood. I drew and painted sometimes, but never immerse excessively until 2018.
“Angami Naga: The Angamis are a major Naga tribe, indigenous to the Kohima district in Nagaland in North-East of India. They are known for the Sekrenyi celebrations every February.” Illustration and caption by Florence Lohu.
“Ao Naga: The Aos are one of the major Naga tribes of Nagaland, Northeast India. They were the first Naga tribe to embrace Christianity.” Illustration and caption by Florence Lohu.
Supong: Tell us a little-known fact about your culture, or something that is pretty well – among the locals, but not known to outsiders…
Florence: As of 2015 various sources classified 89 groups as Nagas.
Each Naga tribe has a unique dialect, not one traditional costume is identical; not one tribe has the same customs and traditions, each of these tribes have their unique story to tell. I think people often miss out on the diversity within my culture (Naga culture), this diversity is unique and fascinates me.
“Konyak Naga: The Konyaks are one of the major Naga tribes of Nagaland. They have the largest population among the nagas. The Konyaks were the last among the Naga tribes to accept Christianity.” Illustration and caption by Florence Lohu.
Supong: Tell me about some of your most treasured projects so far.
Florence: I have more than one favorite that includes some pieces from the traditional costume series and some bookmarks I made with those paintings. These favorites are my manifest love for traditional costumes.
Traditional Costume series | Bookmarks by Florence Lohu
Supong: As an artist, what has been your most challenging task? And how do you overcome them?
Florence: Professionally, not having a formal education or training in art requires an entirely different approach to things at hand. It is difficult plus I am not a people person which definitely adds up to my load🙈. So, for the improvement of my small business, I research online and watch YouTube tutorials.
Supong: If you are having a bad day, how do you deal with it?
Florence: For me having pet animals around helps with de-stressing. Also, a good way to go would be to reflect on the reason for my bad day, then work on it so no bad day repeats. Hehe, it’s easier said than done though.
“Zeliang Naga: Zeme naga is one of the major Naga tribes from northeastern parts of India. The Zemes who are inhabiting Assam are known as Zeme, in Nagaland Zeliang, and those of the Manipur borders are called Zeme or by coalesced tri-tribes Zeliangrong.” Illustration and caption by Florence Lohu.
Supong: Was it your dream all along to be an illustrator?
Florence: I was once very interested in fashion design and I also wanted to become an army officer – both of which sound completely opposite to each other. I have a Master’s degree in Sociology from Ambedkar University Delhi but I am presently painting. But I must say that I am certainly enjoying this bit of my life on a path I have never planned – or even imagined before 😅 I am grateful every day for what I have been able to do with my artwork.
Supong: What is your favorite leisure activity?
Florence: At the moment I am enjoying watching several English TV series. I also like reading and hiking. When I was younger, I enjoyed playing basketball and loved watching local basketball matches which I still love to do, whenever I can.
Supong: What’s your best childhood memory?
Florence: I come from a large family. When I was very small when the whole family would get together to celebrate holidays, which was most part of December. I will always cherish those days.
Supong: Before you go, any message for the readers?
Florence: Dear readers if you have reached here, Thank you for being a part of my journey💛 Thank you Roots and Leisure for this opportunity 💛
“Mao Naga (Florence Lohu’s tribe): The Maos are one of the major tribes constituting the Nagas; a group of tribes spread over the easternmost part of India and the western border region of Myanmar.” Illustration and caption by Florence Lohu.
Follow Florence on Instagram and Youtube. For inquiries, get in touch HERE.[Shop Naga Traditional Jewelry]
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