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Artists celebrate womanhood

Women artists from Meghalaya explored the nuances of birth, motherhood, matriliny and its myriad possibilities in a series titled ‘Her Art’.

An art installation by Careen Joplin Langstieh and Rida Gatphoh.

Amidst a packed house at the Meghalayan Age – The Store, women artists from Meghalaya showcased their artworks in different mediums ranging from charcoal, coffee, cloth, clay, limestone and wood. The series titled ‘Her Art’ explored the themes of birth, motherhood and matriliny.

The concept of womanhood was explored threadbare through deeply personal art work that tried to encapsulate the beauty and fragility of being a woman in a society known for its matrilineal tradition.

Each artwork bears cultural motifs of the region and is derived from lived experiences of the four women artists being featured. These works will be on display at the store till November 26.

Artworks on display

The 'Her Art' series is dedicated to the women of Meghalaya and their contribution to a diversity of practices including art, craft, literature, performance and entrepreneurship. Art installation 'Birth' is the product of a collaboration between Careen Joplin Langstieh and Ridahunlang Gatphoh.

"Birth' is inspired by two different traditional practices relating to birth and motherhood while the depiction is symbolic of a khasi folklore around the same subject. On one side are the nine traditional clay pots that are generally used to make offerings to Mother Nature and to bathe the new-born child and on the other, is a series of seven artworks that put emphasis on motherhood in contemporary times revolving around the 'jain-it'. Both the black clay pots and the jain-it are an integral piece of the Khasi culture.

Talking about the significance of the ‘jain-it’, a strip of cloth used as a baby sling wrap, Langstieh said, “I did not realise the value of this cloth till I had my own children. It is an integral piece of Khasi culture and a precious piece of cloth that is the first gift to a new born child from the paternal grandmother.”

Actor Avijit Dutt (centre) was spotted at the exhibition.

The show also features Balaiamon Kharngapkynta’s art series 'Mawbyrsiew - Lithography & Woodcut Prints'. Through her artwork 'the Screaming Egg', the Shillong-based visual practitioner has depicted the pain women bear but refrain from showing it.

“Often women go through pain silently and do not voice their anguish. Through this egg, I have tried to depict the silent scream of women,” she explains.

The show's opening day saw the presence of several renowned personalities. Those spotted included actress Pavleen Gujral (seen in Angry Indian Goddesses and Gehraiyaan), photographers Pablo Bartholomew and Sarang Sena, Mrs Indian Worldwide 2019 Alisha Madan and actor Avijit Dutt (seen in Jolly LLB 2), among others.

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