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Mising art, culture showcased at Ethnique 2016

By The Assam Tribune

GUWAHATI, Jan 6 - �Ethnique 2016�, a cultural festival for school dropouts and unemployed youth, organized by the Institution for Culture And Rural Development (I-CARD), concluded with a grand finale at Jorhat on January 3. This was stated in an e-mail received here.

The festival, is a simultaneous spread of dances, music, rituals, folktale narration and street theatre dramas, presented at 13 venues. The focus was on the Mising tribes of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. However, the Ethnique 2016 brought in lively presentations of dances, songs and rituals by the Tea Garden community of Assam. About 200 aspiring artists participated in this festival.

The festival featured innovative presentations like welcoming visitors with the catchy tunes of oinitom (Mising folk songs). Sixteen food stalls, constructed like colourful umbrellas, served 16 different ethnic food items. Some of these were culinary experiments, with traditional ingredients, by members of the I-CARD family.

A whole array of Mising cultural dances, like salloya, mibu sonam, lereli, ejug sonam, gumrag, combined with rituals and celebrations like ali aye ligang, midang (marriage), dobur and mibu dagnam. Pagbum dance (float dance) was a special attraction over the waters in the campus. On the main stage, there was a fusion dance choreographed by Puspalata Mili, the media manager of I-CARD. Rhythm of Dance school performed at the end of the three-day programme to support the Ethnique festival 2016 to crown it with a grand finale.

Four young visitors, from England, namely Eion, George, Joe and Eddie also came to study I-CARD�s strategies of youth development. They said it was a totally new and exciting experience for them to participate in this festival and were proud to be part of this festival. Edie added that it was a colourful festival which makes us love to be here, and that he was enjoying a lot.

Another attraction of �Ethnique 16� was the exhibition ground managed by sales people from different parts of Assam (Nagaon, Golaghat and Majuli) and from Kolkata. In the main building of I-CARD one could study the historical heritage of Misings with artefacts collected from different parts of the Mising world. One item, a �lenong�, presented in the exhibition was brought by Fr. Thomas from the USA. He found this in the backyard of one of his friends. A sprinkling of the photo collections of Fr. Thomas were also on display.

More than 2000 people visited the three-day festival, who�s main motto is commemorating the living heritage of the Mising traditions, to bring them to the public arena and to preserve them. The director of I-CARD, Fr. KA Thomas, sdb said that one of the aims of Ethnique is to give a platform to unemployed but talented village youth so that they can live by their art and build their capacities.

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