The Luingamla Keshan – Nagaland

02.30 pm  – 03.30 pm


Speaker – Zasha Colah & Rahul Bhattacharya

The keshan is a woolen sarong, wrapped and draped like a dress, skirt or shawl, worn by men and women in the Naga hills of Manipur. The ‘Luingamla Keshan’ is an elegy for a friend in the form of a luminous red shawl. The patterns were conceived and re-worked over four years to tell of an event of brutality, the joyful spirit of a young girl, and the path to justice. What is justice, when it is represented by butterfly wings? The shawl’s designs appear geometric. Yet, it has a narrative of heroic proportions as in a classical History Painting, as well as a modernist condensation of the grand narrative into insect metaphors. The shawl enters living culture and its story is passed down through community memory and song.

Zasha Colah is a curator of modern and contemporary art at the CSMVS, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai. She worked on articulating a politics of the decorative? while working on the Pan-Asian movement at Oxford University, and on the way contemporary art from the Naga Hills addresses injustice while at the Royal College of Art London. She started a curatorial initiative calledBlackrice with Rahul Bhattacharya in 2008.

Freelance lecturer and writer, Rahul Bhattacharya has moved to researching, writing and curating on contemporary Indian artistic practice after he began his career as a specialist on the readings and viewings of pre-modern art and artistic practice. Having trained in Art History and Aesthetics from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda where he completed his graduation and post graduation, Rahul had a small stint at NID researching developments in the Tamil Nadu handloom industry. Subsequently he has taught a variety of subjects, primarily specializing in aesthetics and cultural history and presented papers in various seminars. He moved to Delhi as a Critic in residence at the KHOJ studios, thereafter, he has been senior editor of Currently he specializes in Public Art projects and non commodity art. He is engaged in promoting and positioning ketan mehta?s film on the visionary artist Raja Ravi Varma (Rang Rasiya) and curating + coordinating The Freedom of Expression Movement, a creative talent hunt.

The Naga Shawls – Nagaland

03.35 am – 04.35 pm

Speaker – Sentila Yanger

The shawls of Nagaland woven and painted by different tribes are a reflection of their past as head hunters and also represent significant indicators of merit amongst the communities. The Angami Naga, Tsungkotepsu and Rongsu are shawls with clear narrative stories woven as a mantle of merits. The counterpart to this is the painted shawl tradition seen amongst the people of the Ao tribe.

Sentila T. Yanger is a cultural activist and widely acknowledged for her work with craft artisans. She is a Naga textile specialist and craft revivalist. Sentila began her work in producing and promoting Naga textiles by mobilizing women artisan groups in literacy, training, product development and marketing support through Tribal Weave, an NGO founded with the aim at the preservation and promotion of the Northeast craft traditions, performing arts and documentation. She was awarded Padma Shree in the field of Art in 2008.

04.35pm – 04:55pm: Tea

The Sherdukpens – Arunachal

05.00 pm – 05.50 pm

Speaker – Desmond L Kharmawphlang

The Sherdukpens textiles of Arunachal depict popular myths and stories of the region and are translated into complex weaving patterns with narrative stories explaining the textiles. The session will focus on the complex narrative of these textiles and illustrate their cultural significance particularly explaining the different meaning accorded to these patterns in different villages.

Desmond L Kharmawphlang is Associate Professor at the Centre for Cultural and Creative Studies of North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong in North East India where he teaches folkloristics. He has authored several books and also looks after the North East Centre of Oral Literature of the Sahitya Akademi as Director. He belongs to the Khasi community.

Hmar and Paitei Textiles – Mizoram

06.00pm – 06.50pm

Speaker – Cherrie Chhangte

Hmar and Paitei tribal waist textiles worn by men and women from Mizoram show clear anthropomorphic motifs in their weaves and are indicators of older myths and legends translated into a form of written record for preserving older culture and tradition. This style is seen throughout the North East and reveals the enormous regard traditions have in tribal and indigenous communities.

Cherrie Chhangte is a Lecturer in the English Department of Mizoram University. Her areas of interest include Black American Literature, Folklore studies, creative writing. She has presented papers like It Happened to a Friend of a Friend: Urban Legends in Contemporary Mizo Society (Sahitya Akademi Seminar, 2006); Loneliness in the Midst of Curfews: The Mizo Insurgency Movement and Terror Lore (Indian Folklore Congress Seminar, 2006).

The Manipur Textiles

07.00pm – 07.50pm

Speaker : K. Sobita Devi

The Manipuri cultural tradition of the art of weaving is based on a mythical foundation. According to mythology manuscripts, celestial ancestresses and goddesses would have introduced the work of weaving as a necessary item of work in the whole course of the creation of the social universe. As traditional attires evolve, texture, pattern, colours and motifs become a great source for yielding historical, cultural and social change.

Keisam Sobita Devi is Joint Director, Art & Culture, Govt. of Manipur, and Managing Director, Manipur Film Development Corporation. Her thesis for her PhD focused on the traditional dress of the Meiteis. She has produced and directed many documentary films, for the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi and other Government and Private organizations, highlighting the rich cultural heritage of Manipur. Documentaries include: The Kharams, The Liangmais of Tharon, Kwatha and Ningel Thumkhong.

Aye Kuzu Le Weavers song by the Sumi Tribe from Nagaland

08.00pm – 08.30pm

Togheli, Viholi, Khekoni, Khekatoli, Toholi, Botoli, Inatoli, Mary, Hokhuli, Atoholi, Boholi, Botoli, Atoli, Ato, Mughato

Aye Kuzu Le is a unique narrative sung and performed by the women of the Sumi tribe of Nagaland. Enacting all stages of work in weaving their traditional shawl, the performers begin with the planting of cotton seeds, to plucking the cotton buds, deseeding, spinning and weaving. This performance is a medium by which women pass on their traditional weaving skills to the next generation, allowing for the preservation of indigenous weaving techniques and its unwritten history.