An old Naga woman displays the art of traditional Naga weaving at the International Loin Loom Festival 2017 (Photo by Aheli Moitra)
International Loinloom Festival 2017 underway
Morung Express News
Diezephe | December 6
The age old practice of traditional weaving in loin loom, practiced by Naga tribes, is present and alive! Old women, with their skills in thread and loom, came together with young girls in enthusiasm to pass on knowledge; together they explored traditional weaving as a favourable livelihood option.
This was witnessed at the 4th Edition of the International Loinloom Festival 2017 presented by Exotic Echo at Weaver’s Place, Diezephe Handicraft Village.
As Nagaland’s major festival ‘The Hornbill Festival’ is underway at Kisama, the Loinloom Festival was attended by people who understood the significance and spirit of loin loom as a celebration of the Naga story.
Held under the theme, ‘Livelihood through Traditions,’ this Festival is sustained without any funds from the State Government or any Governmental agencies. It is held every winter since 2014 with the aim to revitalize indigenous loin loom and promote local weavers to people from the North-eastern States and National and International tourists.
Exotic Echo, an NGO initiated the festival to strengthen Naga women in the field of Loinloom; to ensure socio-economic benefit to the women practising this tradition and to encourage the younger generation to carry on this art as a prospective livelihood alternative.
We are taught weaving at home
The inaugural function held today was graced by Abei Meru, President, Naga Mother’s Association (NMA) as the chief guest. She stated that it was a great opportunity to be celebrating the festival with dedicated weavers and producers of handloom.
“The art of traditional weaving of Naga women has been preserved till today because of the love and respect that is given to traditional designs and the loin loom,” noted.
In most tribes, she observed, “the texture and quality of Mekhala and shawls depend on the way it is woven and most prefer the ways that are woven on the traditional loin loom.”
“All of us Naga women born and brought up by our mothers are taught the skill of traditional weaving at home and from an early age over the years we have seen Naga women have excelled in creating designs from the loin loom with fusion of colours our grandmothers never ever dreamt of,” Meru said.
Weaving, maintained the NMA President, has “always sustained the income of families through the women and girls in the family. This festival celebrated every year must be made on a larger scale so that we get the participation of tribe women organizations to add strength to the movement.”
Bringing greetings from Diezephe Village Council (DVC), a representative also stated that the Village Council had never really paid heed or understood the value of the festival which has being happening for the past years. But now “we have seen how it is helping the villagers and weavers to earn a livelihood.”
“I hope we work together in the coming years through the Loin Loom festival and the festival gets bigger to help every Naga. We really express gratitude to the organizers and interested participants,” he stated.
The festival reached a high note with a performance by cultural ambassadors of Nagaland, the Tetse-o Sisters who attested that their mother wove their beautiful costumes. The evening saw a performance by the legendary Abiogenesis.
After the inaugural function, there was a live demonstration of Loinloom weaving by the weavers who had gathered at Weaver’s Place at Diezephe Handicraft Village. Naga weavers and participating weavers from Ethiopia took to the loom and demonstrated traditional weaving first-hand while exchanging ideas and cultural knowledge.
Vechulo-u, President of Chakesang Welfare Women Society presented a special address on ‘The importance of preserving and protecting Naga Heritage Weaving and Textile.’ Short sharing from delegates of Sabahar, Ethiopia, was an eye-opener on the condition of traditional weavers worldwide. The delegates shared on the situation of weaving in Ethiopia, and life of weavers in Ethiopia.
Exotic Echo during the inaugural function stated that it will keep the Naga loin loom weaving alive and be instrumental to revive the slowly dying and ancient art of textile weaving called the loin loom.
The Loinloom Festival is being held from December 6-8.