A composite event to promote Centrepiece; a book featuring art, poetry, photos, essays, and fiction by 22 women writers and artists from the Northeast who came together to explore the theme of work. 

Date: 15-21 March 2018   |   Venue: Amasoong, Matai

Introducing Centrepiece is a composite event organised in collaboration with Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Zubaan Books and Leimarol Khorjei (Leikol) to promote Centrepiece; a book featuring art, poetry, photos, essays, and fiction by 22 women writers and artists from the Northeast who came together to explore the theme of work. It is edited by Parismita Singh and published by Zubaan Books.

Alongside a week-long exhibition of select writings and reproduced artworks from the book; the inaugural day had a fruitful workshop on ‘Publishing in the Mainstream’ with writers of Leikol conducted by Urvashi Bhutalia; Director, Zubaan Books. Followed by talks given by Dr. Nahakpam Aruna, President, Leikol; Urvashi Bhutalia; Parismita Singh, editor of the book and Thingnam Anjulika Samom, Sanatombi Ningombam, and Kundo Yumnam, contributors of Centrepiece. The day ended with impassioned readings by writers and poets of Leikol and Kekru.

From Leikol we had Bimabati Thiyam Ongbi, writer; Binapani Thokchom, poet; Chingangbam Sangaijaobi, poet; Hawaibam Jandho, poet; Koijam Santibala, poet; Kshetrimayum Subadani, poet; Lairenlakpam Ibemhal, poet; Maya Nepram, writer; Ningombam Seityabati, poet; Ngaseppam Nee Devi, writer; Sanahanbi Chanu RK, poet; and Sunita Ningombam, writer. And from Kekru we had Natalie Nk, Seema Irom, Sweetie Sapam, Thawan, Nyaydhar Potsangbam, Suresh Khuraijam, Premkumar Khumanthem, and Lenin Ksh.

On the closing day of the exhibition, we collaborated with Kekru for a Poetry Jam to celebrate World Poetry Day.

We are grateful to Zubaan Books, Thingnam Anjulika Samom for the opportunity to be a part of this project. To Leikol for the pleasure of having them with us and enriching the gathering with readings of their compelling works. Profusely to Thawan and Tingthounu of Kekru for their untiring help in setting up the exhibition and to all the vanguard poets of Kekru for their new voices. To Parismita Singh whose brilliant work with the book led to such projects. To Sasakawa Peace Foundation for supporting the project. And to all the viewers and listeners who completed the experience.

About Centrepiece:

This book brings you a wealth of stories, in words and images, from a part of India known as the Northeast, a term that is widely contested for the ways in which it homogenizes a region of great diversity. It is also a term that has come to be a marker of identity and solidarity by many who are of the region. Here, 22 writers and artists look at the idea of ‘work’ — from street hawking to beer brewing, from mothering to dung collection — and describe their lives or those of others with humour and compassion. This wonderful compilation of the works of women asks: what are the different ways of telling a story? What if we were to attempt these tellings through poetry and portraits and essays, older traditions like textile art and applique and new genres like hashtag poetry tapped into a smartphone? Where would it take us, what would the world look like?

Contributors: Zubeni Lotha | Minam Apang | Alyen Leeachum Foning | Aheli Moitra | Soibam Haripriya | Gertrude Lamare | Rini Barman | Nitoo Das | Thingnam Anjulika Samom | Parismita Singh | Dolly Kikon | Ayangbe Mannen | Aungmakhai Chak | Jacqueline Zote | Meena Laishram | Prashansa Gurung | Shreya Debi and Bilseng R Marak | Mona Zote | Nabina Das | Mamang Dai | Sanatombi Ningombam | Kundo Yumnam