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ArtEast Festival to showcase stories of war and famine


Press Trust of India Guwahati
Forgotten stories of war and famine will come alive in the national capital at a three-day festival that will also showcase different aspects of life in the east.

The second edition of ArtEast, which opens in New Delhi tomorrow, will feature discussions, film screenings, performances, exhibitions and installations, festival curator Kishalay Bhattacharjee said.

"An underlying focus of the festival is to raise pertinent questions on art, livelihood, migration, social justice, climate change, communication and history. These issues have a far reaching impact on the every day lives of people and on the nation," he told PTI.

The festival will include panel discussions on the China-Burma-India (CBI) campaign in the Second World War, the Bengal Famine and the Silk Route, he said.

Joining the panel on The Other Silk Route: Spookery, Trade and the Great Game will be writers and academics who have followed the ancient trade route, a critical passage for espionage by the great powers.

In The Game of Thrones: China-Burma-India Campaign of WW II, journalists and researchers will look at many lesser known facts such as the role of Ursula Bower who, while working with the Zeme Nagas in Assam's North Cachar Hills, was asked to raise a guerrilla unit to fight Japanese forces.

The panel on Beyond the Bengal Famine will begin with the screening of "Bengal Shadows", a just released documentary followed by a discussion moderated by Shiv Visvanathan who will be in conversation with Paris-based filmmaker Partho Bhattacharya.

One of the highlights of the festival is an exhibition and a performative installation around bamboo called An Ode to Bamboo, a visual journey of how it connects all the states of India's Northeast and beyond through art, livelihood, architecture and everyday objects of use, the curator said.

The exhibition will pay tribute to designer M P Ranjan and his work with bamboo. It will have poems and stories on bamboo by writer Sumana Roy, photographs by Arati Kumar Rao and Parasher Baruah and paintings by Pankhi Saikia.

The festival will include workshops conducted by Rida Gathpoh and her team from Meghalaya on making of black clay pottery, a dying tradition, and a lecture demonstration on folk music and traditional musical instruments.

Mi Ku, a well known folk ensemble from Kathmandu, will perform a concert on the final day.

In the cinema section, three acclaimed films from the Northeast will be screened--including "Ima Sabitri", directed by Bobo Khuraijam, that tells the story of actor Heisnam Sabitri and "My Name is Eeooow", directed by Oinam Doren, on Meghalaya's Jyngwrai Iawbei practice of having musical tunes as names in honour of clan ancestors.

The opening film of the festival -- "Up, Down and Sideways", directed by Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar -- is a musical portrait of a community of rice cultivators and their memories of love and loss in Phek village, Nagaland.

ArtEast has been organised by the National Foundation for India (NFI) in collaboration with India International Centre (IIC).

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First Published: Jan 31 2018 | 11:35 AM IST

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