Naga women weavers, Exotic Echo team members and participants of the 4th Edition of Loinloom International Festival 2017 held at Weaver’s Place, Diezephe Handicraft Village. (Morung Photo)
4th Edition of Loinloom International Festival concludes
Diezephe | December 8
This was the pertinent question asked during the concluding day of the 4th Edition of Loinloom International Festival 2017 presented by Exotic Echo at Weaver’s Place, Diezephe Handicraft Village.
After a three day journey weaving tales on identity, tradition, livelihood, culture and art, it was time to sit down and assess key points. One of the main issues raised was that Nagas are fast losing their cultural heritage; hence the younger generation should be encouraged to carry on the art of weaving as a prospective livelihood alternative to keep it alive.
However, socio-economic benefits must be ensured to the women practising this dying art. The need to protect traditional Loinloom design with Patent and Copy Right and preserve it as a cultural heirloom of the Nagas was also highlighted.
Ecosystem of support
Abokali Jimomi Sumi, founder of Organic Nagaland, felt that a sustainable business system for weavers has to be developed. She stated the importance for building an ecosystem of support for all stakeholders involved – the grower, the craftsperson, the buyer and the consumer.
She called on the need to introduce traditional crafts appreciation classes in the formal education system because “to continue our craft tradition, it is important for our children to know and appreciate the skills passed down from our ancestors and know our roots.”
Nagas should also feel a sense of pride in wearing our traditional clothes. She encouraged people to wear our traditional dress during weddings and special occasions. Abokali opined that we should teach the craft of loinloom to those who want to learn, and to younger generation, for instance, craft school and short school for hobbyists and anyone interested in loinloom.
K Ela, Director of Prodigals Home, stated that Naga folklore and traditions are written in our attires and it is the women who are the keepers of these legends. “A part of our history will vanish if Naga weavers stop weaving and that is the main reason why we need to recognize the importance of the Naga Loinloom,” she said.
She also highlighted how the identity of every Naga is reflected through one’s traditional attire and one glance at what a man or woman is wearing is enough to identify the village and clan s/he belongs to. And it is the Naga women weavers who have helped to bring the Naga culture so far and must continue to do so, she stated.
Ela called on the need to retain the original Naga traditional designs and not just concentrate on creative designs because we have beautiful and deep meanings related to every pattern and colour which must not be lost.
Tali Longchar, Deputy Director DI-MSME Nagaland applauded the organizers of the Festival for their initiative and encouraged the weavers to continue the Naga traditional art. He also opined that Nagas are not well-informed about intellectual property rights and weavers should take care to register and patent their creative works.
The moderator of the third day, Vitono Gugu Haralu also pointed out that the Loinloom festival is purely organized by Exotic Echo and sustaining without any funds from the State Government or any Governmental agencies. She informed that after three rounds of meetings with various stakeholders, the goal is now to hold a consultative meet on Loinloom recognition and reviving the dying art with all the concern stakeholders, Government agencies and the State Policy makers to participate and address the issue seriously in order to look into the welfare of the players for progressive and livelihood empowerment.
The core team for this initiative consists of Sonnie Kath – Exotic Echo, Kevisedenuo Margaret Zinyu – Woven Threads, Vitono Gugu Haralu – Pathfinders and K. Ela – Prodigals Home, Abokali Jimomi Sumi – Organic Nagaland, Tali Longchar- MSME and members from various tribal bodies and interested individuals.