August 30, 2008

NID Students to Bring Tribal Lore to the Fore

By Vasundhara Vyas Mehta

AHMEDABAD: Often, folk lore is very tribe specific. Tales need to be told in a particular style and depicted in a manner special to a region. Folk tales are fading from memory and so are styles to narrate them.

In an attempt to keep tribal lore and art alive, a workshop was organized recently, in which six students of film and animation department of National Institute of Design (NID) took part.

The workshop, organized by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), saw about 40 tribal artistes working closely with students over two weeks.

The plan is to give folk art and lore a new face by making them available in digital form - the form today's generation understands best. This way ageold tales and painting styles will be revived.

"Animation in India is a borrowed concept and till date we don't have something we can call our own. But, there are numerous dying art forms that can be kept alive and can become the face of the country," says Sekhar Mukherjee, coordinator of the workshop from NID.

The six students who participated in the workshop are Troy Vasanth and Rajesh Thakare, studying in third year of postgraduate programme and Deepak Verma, Vijay Punia , Gaurav Juyal and Anish Doulagupu from the fourth year.

The tribes which took part were Santals from Jharkhand, Pardhan Gonds from Madhya Pradesh and some Manipuri tribes.

"We worked on three short stories that had morals. It was a unique experience interacting with tribal artistes and teaching them animation techniques in such a short time - which we learn in months of classes and hours of lab work. But, it also gave us an insight into how important animation could prove to be for them to give their works an absolutely new dimension ," said Vasanth.

From Manipur comes 'Man and Monkey', an allegory depicting the challenge faced by tradition. 'The Squirrel's Dream' will be a visual treat in bright colours and patterns used by Pardhan Gond artistes who strongly believe in a life which is in touch with nature.

The Santals also have their story set in the forest - 'A Cold Breeze' which tells about the friendship and quarrel between a tiger and a bear.

"The three films have reached pre-production stage. We have another technical workshop in October when we plan to convert them into full-fledged films," said Verma.

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