‘House No 15 is an initiative which aims to create an interactive space for artistes to share their individualistic body of work. To name only one source of inspiration for this initiative can be quite difficult because it was various voices of many artistes, who simply desired to create and communicate, that led to its birth,’ says Nidaphi Hynniewta, venue proprietor. She wanted a safe space for people to connect, talk and learn more about an artiste’s work process.
From Dreams to Reality
After lengthy conversations with her friend and partner Rachel D Shira, Nida decided to give life to her ideas. She also had the help of good friends Damehi Laloo and Pynkmen Lyngdoh Mawnai. ‘I talked with my delightful and talented friend Pynkmen (a professional photographer) who was happy to come on-board. My batch mate and friend Dame was also ready to help. Talking to people made it seem more realistic and we couldn’t go back on our word even if we wanted to. This gave us more of a push because self doubt is something that we all constantly struggle with, don’t we?’
The Vintage Charm
With white-washed walls and black beams, the house, built before World War II, features classic and vintage architectural elements and styles. It is indeed a wonderful blast from the past. ‘The house belonged to my great grand aunt. I knew instantly this would be a unique space to display artworks. It gave a homely feel, something I hoped that an artiste would feel safe in.’
The venue was taken care of, but she still needed artistes. And so, the hunt began. ‘We did what we could to gather artistes. The first person I had in mind was Kong Careen J Langstieh. She is my relative but at that time I hadn’t been formerly introduced and I thought this was an ideal opportunity to meet her. She then pointed me in the direction of Bah Treibor Mawlong, who is a prominent artiste dealing with interesting woodcut prints.’
A Safe Space for Artistes
Since its inception, they have organized an exhibition and a workshop. House No 15 has played host to a list of amazing and creative artistes whose work range from their personal rendition of nature to precise landscape paintings.
Conrad Syiem displayed photography where he makes use of the cyanotype process to capture stories. Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print.
(Late) Rollindro Dkhar’s landscape painting along with his son (Late) Cleverson Lyngdoh’s take on the Last Supper was also exhibited. Paintings and sketches were exhibited by Benedict Hynniewta, Lydia Dkhar, Wandalin Syiem, Nathaniel Syiem and Rinchin Chodin. Jeffrey Mawlong and Federick Hynniewta displayed their collage and sketch on paper.
The interesting art of woodcut prints were exhibited by Rembrandt Kharnaior and Treibor Mawlong. Damehi Laloo’s work which is heavily inspired by graffiti art was also put on display. Rangskhemborlang Mawblei showcased an abstract structure made with cloth and sharpened bamboo sticks. Some antiques were also exhibited by Michael Syiem.
‘At the end of the exhibition, there was an interactive session about how we are going to move forward with this initiation. We have decided to have more of these exhibitions cum workshops, but there is the challenge of sustenance. For how long can we held these exhibitions without proper sponsorships? That remains to be seen, but for now, we are doing what we can. Hopefully, in the future, we can take this initiative to different locations and involve more and more artistes and enthusiasts.’
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By Mrinal Paul