MANIANI: A celebration of art, film, and food of Meghalaya’s Garo tribe

A cultural showcase by the Meghalayan Age: The Store, MANIANI is celebrating the many facets of the Garo tribe.
The garo tribe is known for its distinct art forms.
The Garo tribe is known for its distinct art forms. Image: Courtesy The Meghalayan Age Limited.

Rolling hills, abundant greenery, and unique tribal traditions make the state of Meghalaya worthy of global recognition. And the Meghalaya Age: The Store is trying to give it just that, through MANIANI.

The festival running from April 8-9 at Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhawan in Delhi’s Connaught Place aims at celebrating the Garo tribe in distinct ways. Popularly known as Garos, the A’chiks are one of the three major tribes in Meghalaya, and are quite popular for their simplistic ways of living as well as rich arts.

A great way to experience Meghalaya is through the stories and expressions of the arts and crafts communities. MANIANI is one such opportunity for people from outside the state to interact and discover more about the Garo tribe from some of the finest talents of the region”, said C V D Diengdoh, Director of Tourism, Government of Meghalaya.

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Multi-disciplinary artist christine g momin working on her art pieces.
Multi-disciplinary artist Christine G Momin working on her art pieces. Image: Courtesy The Meghalayan Age Limited.
Ceramic artist arak sangma.
Ceramic artist Arak Sangma. Image: Courtesy The Meghalayan Age Limited.

A multilayered cultural soiree, MANIANI (named after the Garo word for ‘celebration’) is dedicated to the art, crafts, films, and food of the community. In order to promote multi-facets of this north-eastern state, the state-run emporium, Meghalaya Age: The Store is bringing together Meghalaya-based ceramic artist Arak Sangma and multi-disciplinary artist Christine G Momin for demonstrations of their distinct art forms, including terracotta sculptures and local jewellery made from bottle gourd and jackfruit leaves!

The idea is to revive and conserve the heritage crafts of the state by bringing the stories of these artists to a wider audience. Other than the art demos, the festival is also screening the award-winning film MA.AMA by native director Dominic Sangma, followed by a panel discussion on the film. The film has won the title of ‘Best Garo Film’ in the 66th National Film Awards, and is all about the deep bonds within a Garo family.

Hanging lamps made with bottle gourds and terracotta clay by momin.
Hanging lamps made with bottle gourds and terracotta clay by Momin. Image: Courtesy The Meghalayan Age Limited.

Garo Hills also have a rich culinary heritage, and so a tasting menu has been set for the guests. Taste local delicacies like sakin (traditional steamed cake of sticky rice and sesame seeds wrapped in banana leaves), jakep (steamed rice cake with dry powdered sticky rice, jaggery, and black sesame), and minil pitta (deep fried rice balls). Giving a genuine platform to local artists to showcase and sell their most authentic creations, Meghalayan Age: The Store seems to demostrate the local artists’ outstanding art and craftsmanship.

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