Design student Deep Ahmed talks about his journey to the India International Trade Fair, his tryst with art and how winning the national art director 2013 has changed his life… REHNA ABDUL KAREEM

When people use the expression ‘building castles in the air’, it generally refers to overambitious people vying for a goal that is practically impossible. But for Deep Ahmed, this is true! From building 40-ft Ganeshas to herculean sets, this 27-year-old recently bagged the title of National Art Director yet again at the 2013 India International Trade Fair, representing the State of Assam. The award was presented to him by former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mr. Farooq Abdulla at a prestigious award ceremony.

Inspiration and expectations

“My father, Nuruddin Ahmed, is a national art director working in this field for 35 years now,” says Deep when asked about how his love affair with design started. “I have grown up seeing his work and was always passionate about design. I had not joined any design school, but learnt a lot from my father. Designs, patterns and anything creative have always caught my attention. Perhaps that’s where all this is coming from.” Deep has put up installations representing Assam making an entire pavilion on his state. “It’s a vast field and it is tough to be a master. I keep challenging myself to get better each time. I like making things that are visually appealing and eye-catching. The 40-feet Ganesha was a huge success and the biggest crowd-puller.”

Representing Assam was a high point in Deep’s life, but he also explains that with such responsibility comes pressure and expectation. “It felt great, no doubt! But there is also a lot of pressure. There is no excuse that will be considered when you are carrying a State’s name and thousands of people’s trust and belief with you.” Deep believes in planning, dedication and a strong team effort to pull it off. The Ganesha took the team about two months and 40 people to finish.

The journey to IITF

Deep’s journey to the IITF started three years ago when he completed his Masters in Visual Communication from Loyola College, Chennai.

“That year I participated in the trade fair, but did not bag the award. But the experience of working on a national level and competing with other states was an enriching experience. Our key attraction that year was a 25-ft eye-catcher, fully hand painted artistic fascia of approximately 3,000 sq. ft. area. Public response to this was overwhelming. There came a time when we had to request Delhi police for extra volunteers and security to control the crowd. That taught me a lot and there was a lot of scope for improvement. A new level of confidence was achieved in the process.”

This year, he had a clear idea of what techniques should be used. After a year’s hard work and dedication Deep won the gold medal for Assam.

Living the moment

“When the result was announced, my heart skipped a beat. That’s the title I worked so hard for and now it’s all worth it! At 27, I feel very proud of this achievement. It was the best thing I’ve given to my family and friends, who supported me throughout this journey.

I owe my success to my mother and father the most. Director Bipul Das and his team, who kept faith in us and gave us this opportunity, was a big influence in my life. All my teachers have helped me achieve this today. Without them, this would not have been possible.”

Future aspirations

In the field of art, Deep wants to be what A.R. Rahman is in music. “I want to keep growing and in the process, achieve a lot more. I want to fulfil every wish I had as a child. I have seen my father’s humongous collection of medals and awards. This is just the beginning.”

Deep hopes that some day he can represent his country at the International level and win more accolades. He currently has projects underway in Guwahati, Delhi and Bangalore.

Designs, patterns and anything creative have always caught my attention. Perhaps that’s where all this is coming from.