Art Workshop Enhances Talents of North East Indian Artisans

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Unique Workshop To Boost NE Artisans

As a unique and pioneering initiative, India’s North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC) under the Union Ministry of Culture is organizing a Production Mela for 113 rural artisans from across the region. The aim is to foster the art of traditional weaving and craftsmanship, and to expand their market.

On the sidelines, some of the best wood sculptors from the region are also creating masterpieces depicting the cultural heritage of the eight north eastern states. It started from Saturday and will continue until March 31.

The Production Mela aims to engage rural artisans directly to buyers and even suppliers with a hope that it will provide a much needed break for some of them.

“The traditional art-forms which are practiced predominantly by the rural communities, have little or no access to commercial markets, thus, leaving the very art that they practice at grave risk of losing its worth or even worse,” said Lipokmar Tzudir, NEZCC Director.

He also stated that “The alarming scenario is that the rural artisans are now opting to hazardous and laborious professions to meet the economic challenges, thus resulting in neglect of family responsibilities, besides health.”

The Government of India recognizes that the artisans would be provided opportunities to engage themselves in line of their expertise through various schemes. But the extent of streamlining these resources to the rural areas by the implementing agencies is highly questionable.

Tzudir also said the NEZCC under the Union Ministry of Culture is more than willing to continue with this initiative in the region, but he also mentioned it will require other Ministries such as Tribal Affairs, Handloom and Textiles and DoNER besides others, to take a proactive role towards financing such programmes.

“With the number of brilliant artisans we have in the region, we can easily meet the demand of the global market, and if the policy makers want to realize the ‘Act East policy.’ This is one aspect cannot be ignored for we cannot dream of reaching the moon whilst our own people are starving in their own kitchen,” Lipokmar Tzudir said.

Hemanta Kumar Nath is a correspondent in Assam, India, who reports on local news in Assam, the north east Indian state.