Nagaland: 9-day national art residency begins in Kohima
Participants of the 9-day national art residency

Kohima: A 9-day national art residency with visual artists from Nagaland, Assam, Delhi and Kolkata began at the Regional Centre of Excellence for Music and Performing Arts (RCEMPA) in Jotsoma, about 8 km from Kohima downtown, on Tuesday. 

Task Force for Music and Arts (TaFMA) project director Hovithal Sothu said that TaFMA has teamed up with Art for Change, a Delhi-based NGO, to organise the residency. He informed that seven participants–one each from Delhi, Guwahati, and Kolkata and five from Nagaland–are part of the residency. 

Works of the artists will be exhibited and put up for sale on the final day. Proceeds from the sale will be distributed between the artists, TaFMA and Art for Change foundation, with the majority of the benefits directly to the artists.

Gracing the occasion as the special guest, Secretary to the department of Youth Resources and Sports (YRS), Wezope Kenye, said that art is an expression of being creative in one’s skills and it depicts the way of life of the past generations. 

He said that Nagaland is the only state in India that has a separate office for arts and music, and lauded TaFMA for the development of music and art in the state. 

Further, he hoped that the artist in-residency would allow the visual artists to live and work outside of their usual environments, providing them with time to reflect, research and produce work. 

He also encouraged the visual artists to explore new locations, and different cultures and experiment with different art materials. 

Tatsimu Trakha, 23, who recently completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Kolkata, shared his excitement to be part of the residency. 

“There are artists from different specialisations and work in different mediums. So I think we’ll have a productive one,” he said. 

Delhi-based visual artist Jayita Barai (27) who is also part of the residency said “I am looking forward to a lot of collaboration, exchange of ideas and thoughts. I think it is important to go to another place and interact with local artists because this initiates conversations and dialogues between our practices as we have so much to gain from each other.”

Executive director of Art for Change Foundation, Isaac Gergan shared his excitement for the residency. 

Art residencies, he said, are a professional activity for artists and so several exercises for the next eight days have been planned.

He said the residency will begin with an orientation and will include other activities like artist presentations, chai time, and resource sessions. 

The artist hoped that the residency would provide time for the artists to reflect and make critical reflections. “During the program, our objective is to seek out the critical dialogues that we can address through our conversations and through the art we produce,” he added. 

He said the main focus of the residency was on the process of creating art, and not just the finished product. Five members of the foundation, are also part of the residency and the work of all 12 artists will be displayed during the exhibition. 

Gergan hoped that the artists would continue to inspire people and be able to interact with people through art, as he shared his desire of meeting with students and local youth during the proposed exhibition. 

According to him, the New Delhi-based arts organisation was formed in 2008 with the conviction that art plays a profound role in exploring questions of human dignity and the common good. 

So far, the foundation has conducted 32 artist residencies, including seven international artist residency, and organised 64 exhibitions. 

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