Tuophema, Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Saturday urged the need to protect and preserve the rich culture and tradition of the Nagas through art and music.

Addressing artists and students during the valedictory function of the Art residency programme organised Task Force for Music and Arts (TaFMA) at Tuophema Village under Kohima district, Rio said that art has many forms and life’s expressions are shown through art.

The chief minister said that Nagaland is a land with many tribes, with each tribe having its own different culture and language. As Nagaland is a beautiful state rich in culture and tradition, the Naga culture needs to be protected and preserved.

As he stressed how human life is an art and every person is a character, he said that to be a good artist is to be a good human.

Rio also expressed concern over how the Naga society is living through fragmentation. While the Naga political issue remains unresolved, there is also a demand for a separate state even within Nagaland and demands for separate districts from the present districts, he added.

In this regard, he said that the demands are “endless” and sometimes “unreasonable”. He goes on to challenge the Naga youth to live positively, advising them to find a way to live and survive, while also protecting the Naga culture and tradition.

While Rio encouraged the artists to continue with their work, he told the artists to learn the art of trading their work. He said that the prices offered by the artists should be made reasonable and convincing for the consumers.

Further, Rio congratulated the Naga artists and students who took part in the first-ever Art residency at the tourist village at Tuophema Village, which was inaugurated by the then chief minister of Nagaland Dr SC Jamir in 2001.

TaFMA adviser Theja Meru informed that 12 artists empanelled with TaFMA and 21 students from two schools in Tuophema took part in the Art residency. During the period, the artists conducted art classes for the students and organised an art competition.

Adviser to Nagaland chief minister, Abu Metha, shared how the Art residency brought master artists from across Nagaland in one place, with artists getting to do what they are best at while inspiring each other.

Hoping that the new year will paint many success stories for the artists, he said that the artists, who are storytellers, can influence minds and shape public opinion.

With the artwork reaching out to every corner of the world, he encouraged the artists to allow their minds to flow and tell stories of Nagaland through their art.

Both Meru and Metha acknowledged the chief minister for supporting the initiative. The 5-day long Art residency culminated on Saturday with an art exhibition that showcased the works of the 12 empanelled artists.

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