Ukhrul: Even on a regular down, the town of Ukhrul can be described as pretty and picturesque. But it seems the festive season, and the citizens of the town of Ukhrul, around 80 km from Imphal, are ensuring that the town looks even prettier.
A group of young artists, mostly returnees, formed a team under the banner SALIS, denoting a Latin word meaning salt. Like salt, they aim to let every act transform and enrich life. The project is an effort to boost the morale of the people in the hill district through the visual art ahead of what is hoped a low affair Christmas celebration amid the COVID-19 restrictions.
No wonder, their latest initiative is being supported by the Autonomous District Council (ADC) Ukhrul.
“The idea is to indulge the youth of the town in this initiative and inculcate the sense of responsibility and accountability in keeping the town clean and healthy. A sense of ownership will be instilled in the minds of the youth with such activities,” said Sorinthan Haorei, who heads the team SALIS.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the town is witnessing a reverse migration as thousands of youths have returned from metropolitan cities. The skills and talents of the youth can be capitalised, and utilised to revamp the town, Sorinthan added.
So far, the team which consist of ten members, have completed two projects. The Viewland Baptist Church, which is situated in the heart of the town, was selected for their initial project.
The first project was named ‘Angel’ since it is a religious place and given the sanctity of the sacred place, the team gave a touch of religious art with wings spread across the wall as a sign of respect and honour.
According to Sorinthan, the main idea behind is to let the residents/tourists capture themselves along with the Wings in a photo. And the words ‘…they will soar on wings like eagles’ taken from Bible quotation (Isaiah 40:31) is to encourage the people that we can all do better in our lives, he added.
It took them around one week to complete the art at the Viewland Baptist Church. Now, with the completion of the project, denizens of Ukhrul town visiting the place and can be seen enjoying with it.
In their second project, the team revamped the bus stand at Hamleikhong and transformed into a bright representation of the rich culture and tradition of the Tangkhul community. The look, according to the organisers, was inspired by Tarung (Totem) and Lengcheng (decorative art on the traditional Tangkhul house) to promote and preserve the identity and remind themselves of the importance of their identity and roots.
However, the team also expressed concerned over the maintenance and appealed to the public to take care of the art done as their own property for long-lasting and continue to brighten the town.
“In a postmodern world, we need the best facilities. But due to many reasons, we are unable to get it done for the small but beautiful town. In such a situation, the town needs an alternative which will bring positives vibes to the residents and those who visits,” said Sorinthan.
With successful completion of the two projects, it has created the town lively and gave a breather to the residents as they enjoy meaningful and colourful artwork.
The town will not only look more refreshing and the unhealthy environment created can be get-rid-of; however, the team are also hopeful that through such artworks could also become a tourist attraction and boost tourism in the town.
This project will be more special for the town as the biggest festival of the people, Christmas, is nearing. It will be a perfect gift for the town, added Sorinthan.
Former ADC chairman Ukhrul Dr Yaronsho Ngalung appreciated the initiative. As part of making Ukhrul a smart town, ADC Ukhrul has been giving all-out effort cleaning the town by employing over 70 casual workers as sanitary workers, sweepers, using 3-4 tippers, 4-5 truck drivers to dump the wastes at the dumping site. ADC need cooperation from the public, he added.
It is worth mentioning that Ukhrul was awarded the cleanest town in the state by Manipur government in 2019 and ADC Ukhrul was awarded the first prize for making it happen.