An Interview with an Artist - R.K. Budhimanta of RKCS Art Museum

Khuman *

 R.K. Budhimanta of RKCS Art Museum
Courtsey:- R.K. Budhimanta


R.K. Budhimanta was born on January 28, 1959, to an artist family in Keishamthong Mathak, Imphal. He is the fourth generation to become an artist in the family. He is the third son of late-renowned artist Rajkumar Chandrajitsana Singh, popularly known as RKCS (1924–2004). Currently, he is continuing the legacy of fine arts in the artist family as a fourth generation artist and has become a role model artist with his eye-catching oil paintings for many collectors and art lovers.

Oja, first of all thanks a lot for taking out time for this interview session from your busy schedule. We heard a lot about the RKCS ART MUSEUM in Imphal and today we are lucky that we will have some Questions & Answers session with you.

 R.K. Budhimanta of RKCS Art Museum
Courtsey:- R.K. Budhimanta

E-pao: How long have you been working as an artist?
R.K. Budhimanta: I have been painting since my school days. When I was in Class 4 (fourth standard) in 1968, I got first prize in a competition organised by the Fancy Youth Association. I kept on practicing painting for a long time. I dedicated my time to painting only.

As a profession, I started my career as an apprentice to my father. I started helping my father and painted many hoardings, cinema posters, photo studio backdrops, and drama scenes as an assistant to my father.

I've been working as a professional artist since 1974. My first painting was "THE RED TENT"—a Hollywood movie film poster—with a size of 6" x 15". Some of the notable Cinema Hall Manipuri Film Hoardings are Wangma Wangma, Madhabi, Khamba Khamnu and many more under the banner of RKCS.

E-pao: What role does the artist have in society?
R.K. Budhimanta: That’s a very important and interesting question. The role of an artist in society is vast. Education started from the art itself. Here, I would like to highlight that ART in the present day is a basic necessity.

Different forms of art are used in education, such as pictorial books, animation, etc. Through arts there are so many things that a society can aware, learn and educate themselves. When the society needs any form of art, they come to RKCS since RKCS started his studio as RKCS Chitralaya in 1947 at Maxwell Bazar (presently Thangal Bazar).

E-pao: Please highlight your participations, awards, and achievements?
R.K. Budhimanta:

o All India Exhibition of Arts Organised by Arts Society Manipur (1894–1987)
o Group Exhibition at various locations, namely Delhi, Bhubaneshwar, Goa, Gauhati, Kolkata, and Shillong, organised by the Manipur State Kala Academy
o Sixth Eastern Regional Arts Exhibition, Kolkata, organised by Lalit Kala Akademi, Kolkata
o Two Men's "Art Show," Madras (1993)
o Solo Show of Paintings organised by RKCS Chitralaya, Manipur (1994)
o Rashtriya Kala Mela, Bangalore, organised by Lalit Kala Akademi (1995)
o Rashtriya Kala Mela, Calcutta, organised by Lalit Kala Akademi (1996)
o Workshop on Realistic Painting (6 Days) organised by Arts Society Manipur (2018)

In addition to the above, I have also participated in many exhibitions organised by the Arts Society of Manipur.

Awards and Achievements:

o Gold Medal, Inter College Youth Festival, Gauhati University in the year 1979
o All India Exhibition of Arts organised by the Arts Society of Manipur in the year 1985
o Award of Manipur State Kala Akademi (1993–1994)
o Hidam Kala Memorial Award for Arts & Crafts organised by Panthoibi Cultural Research Centre, Imphal

E-pao: Should ART be funded? What’s your opinion on this?
R.K. Budhimanta: I would like to answer this question as we work with the dedication "What Can I Do for the Nation?" since RKCS started painting.

E-pao: How far or where are your collections?
R.K. Budhimanta: I am really happy to answer this question about my collections. Well, if I mentioned country-wise, then my collections are in 10+ countries. My paintings are also owned by many distinguished personalities in India and abroad. And I would like to mention a few, namely former US President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the then President APJ Abdul Kalam, Droupadi Murmu, Ram Nath Kovind and many Union Ministers.

Today, my paintings can be seen in many places in India as well as abroad. My paintings can be seen in public places, private collections, and corporate collections. Some of the important places where my paintings hang are Rastrapati Bhavan, Raj Bhavan Manipur, Mother Teresa House, Rastriya Lalit Kala Akademi—Kolkata, and Goa Kala Akademi.

Many people can also see my collections at the Kangla Museum, Manipur State Legislative Assembly Museum, Reserve Bank of India - Guwahati and Tribal and Research Institution.

My painting was also included at Prime Minister’s mementos E-Auction for a noble cause, "Namami Gange."

E-pao: How will you express the advantage of being an artist?
R.K. Budhimanta: I would highlight here that I was born with the inherent skills to be an artist, and this is one of the advantages. For my inherent qualities, I am proud of myself. Art gives exposure and earns respect. I will go with art for a lifelong journey, "Art for Utility." The advantage is that if an artist uses and applies the different forms of art professionally, this can be a livelihood.

E-pao: Recently, we came across your art exhibition called "Colours of Pandemic." Please express your outcomes from this art exhibition.
R.K. Budhimanta: It was on 24th March, 2020 that the country of India was imposed with lockdown because of the Covid 19. During the COVID Lockdown, I spent my time with a brush and hues and painted every day in my room at my temporary studio. "Colours of Pandemic" was organised for 5 days from January 28–February 1, 2023, at the RKCS Art Museum, Keishamthong, Imphal.

I painted 335 paintings during the pandemic. I have organised the solo art exhibition, featuring 335 oil paintings. I would like to mention that "COLOURS OF PANDEMIC" is one of the biggest ever solo exhibitions in the art history of Manipur. It was a successful solo art exhibition that I would like to mention.

E-pao: Please give some highlights about the RKCS Art Museum.
R.K. Budhimanta: "The RKCS Art Museum is one of the must-visit places, as I would like to say, because each and every collection in the museum gives valuable information about our Manipur." Original paintings of my father, Rajkumar Chandrajitsana Singh, popularly known as RKCS, are on view.

There are many paintings that a local or an outsider can understand about Manipur by seeing the different types of paintings. In order to have fully fledged information about the collections of the Art Museum, I am available to guide and to tell the story behind every painting to all the visitors.

Finally, R.K. Budhimanta also mentioned his interest about Recycling. He used to use the disposed can/plastic bottles, used brushes and empty tube covers for painting. One of the most interesting Recycling Work of him is painting of World Great Personalities on small tiny shell.

E-pao: Oja, thank you so much for sharing time with us. It was really nice experience. Our team wishes you all the best for your future endeavor.
R.K. Budhimanta: It’s my pleasure and thank you so much.

* Khuman conducted this interview for on 08th April 2023
This article was webcasted on April 18 2023.

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