Orphaned and with 3 siblings to take care of, Augustine from Nagaland exemplifies courage and determination


TNT News| September 2, 2018

Augustine Shimray is a young artist from Nagaland who has gone through hurdles we can only imagine. Coming from a small village in the North Eastern state, he didn't care about academics or school but was a free spirit who knew that to make something of himself, he had to eventually leave Nagaland.

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When he was 10-years-old, his dad passed away. He had battled a heroin addiction for a long time and finally passed away due to the long term drug use. This caused him to grow up much faster than others his own age. With three younger siblings, there was a lot of added responsibility handed to the young boy of ten. His mother had a stall at the market where she sold Burmese goods and Augustine would help her out. This was his life back then. Tragedy struck yet again as when he turned 19, his mother passed away. She had contracted HIV from his father. His mother who was a brave, strong woman tried her best to single handedly raise her children and the values that she instilled still lingers in him. He promised her that he would never turn out like his father and Augustine has remained true to his word.


In 2003, he left for Pune in search of a better future. He took up a deejaying course. He won a few competitions such as War of the DJ's and in 2009 he was made the resident DJ of Hard Rock Cafe, New Delhi.  He stayed at the club for 2 years. More doors opened for him when designer Nitin Bal Chauhan was looking for models with a gothic appeal. Augustine was chosen as one of the models and was part of the Van Heusen campaign which was the first ever men's show in 2011. Ever since then, he has been part of multiple music videos of artists such as rapper Hard Kaur. He has also taken part in multiple fashion weeks including Lakme Fashion Week.

Augustine talks about how he now visits Nagaland more often as initially the memories that surrounded his past made it quite difficult but he is now on a journey to get in touch with his roots. He wants to immerse himself in culture which has become where he mainly draws his inspiration from. He has started designing dream catchers and accessories which are inspired from his heritage and sells them mainly through social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

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He was also involved in a movie made by an Australian filmmaker. The film called Kazeiram is a silent movie which depicts the Naga's ancestral abode of the dead. It is where Naga people go to in the after-life according to Tangkhul folklore.  However, since the ascent of Christianity in the state the depiction has lost most of its relevance.

Augustine's life has changed drastically from where he started, although he admits that people and family members from the state try to get him to find himself a "proper" job and do not understand that being an evolving artist is a viable career option. He spends his time flying from one city to another, one day shooting a look book in Mumbai, another walking the LFW in New Delhi. His style and evolution is part and parcel of who he is and all the hardships he's endured has made him into the person that he's become.

Augustine's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AugustineShimray/?hc_ref=SEARCH

(By Jessica Passah)