Shillong ( Meghalaya), Feb 22 : The commemorative heritage mural at the gateway to the State Central Library was unveiled today by Conrad K Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya in the presence of Prestone Tynsong, Deputy Chief Minister, Sanbor Shullai, Arts and Culture Minister, Rebecca V Suchiang, Chief Secretary, F R Kharkongor, Commissioner and Secretary of Arts and Culture Department including a host of dignitaries, visual and performing artists and members of the cultural organisations.
The occasion was part of the ongoing Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the statehood of Meghalaya and the Chief Guest, Conrad K Sangma in his inaugural speech expressed his immense pleasure to the face lifting exercise of the Arts and Culture complex that has enhanced the facade and the internal structure of the Soso Tham Auditorium. He emphasized the relief sculpture mural done by Riti Academy of Visual Arts and called upon the citizens to inculcate a sense of belonging to the public properties.
The Chief Guest flagged off the Museum on Wheels which showcased the cultural heritage and history of the State with special reference to the 50th Anniversary of Statehood and the 75th Anniversary celebration of Independence India Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The mobile museum is a repository of the history of the Hill State movement and various vital information about the cultural and natural heritage of the State. Thereafter, Sangma also inaugurated the refurbished auditorium where the state-of-the-art infrastructure is being installed. They include an inbuilt sound and lighting system, LED projection system, VIP lounge, and an equipped green room for the performing artists including the electric generator for uninterrupted power supply.
CM, Conrad K Sangma recalled his embarrassment at the condition of the auditorium and was delighted that it was facelifted and improved in every aspect of public and artistes’ convenience. Others who spoke on the occasion included Prestone Tynsong, Deputy Chief Minister, Sanbor Shullai, Arts and Culture Minister, Rebecca V Suchiang, Chief Secretary, and the welcwelcomeime address was delivered by F R Kharkongor, Commissioner and Secretary of Arts and Culture Department.
As part of the programme, the Monograph on the Golden Jubilee was released and the winning designer of the State logo Mario Pathaw was awarded a memento and a cash prize of Rupees one lakh Twenty Five Thousand only. Later in the afternoon, a panel discussion on Public Art was held, moderated by Jerry Lucius Pyrtuh and the participating panelists are Afree K Khyriem, Mario Pathaw, Careen J Langstieh Raphael Warjri, Naphisabiang Khongwir, and Frederick D Hynniewta.
Last year on the 50th Anniversary of the State on 21st January 2021, the Arch-gate to the cultural complex of the Government of Meghalaya was inaugurated by A L Hek, former Art and Culture Minister.
The arch gate is artistically represented by the drums at the apex of the gate to herald and usher the people to the treasure trove of natural and cultural heritage. The state’s rich cultural wealth is depicted through relief sculptural murals that comprise the native resources bestowed by nature and its inhabitants. The binary canopy of the ‘Knup’ signifies the providential protection of the original resources and vividly articulates the roots of ethnic tradition. The totemic figures on both sides of the posts of the arch-gate reflect the myths and legends of the tribal people of the State.
The various components in the mural consist of the primary elements of the land and its people while capturing the unique ethnic ingredients of our intrinsic tribal culture. The floating assemblage of cloud formations in the horizon signifies the abode of the clouds, the indigenous bioengineering of the living root which is singularly spectacular and prominently depicted at the center. The age-old traditional system of ecological conservation of our sacred groves, the cascading waterfalls which are all richly interwoven with fascinating legends and folk tales, the exotic caves, and caverns which hold distinction among the best known natural caving systems of the world; and various other prominent characteristics which signify Meghalaya are portrayed and distilled in the mural.
The traditional methods of cultivation in both the hill slopes and the plain signify prosperity and sustainable livelihood, the watchtower hut ‘Borang’ of the Garo Hills region and the megaliths ‘Mawbynna’ of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills region are depicted along with the respective customs and traditions of our hill tribes. In the foreground, perched prominently are the clouded leopard-the State animal, the State flower -the Lady’s slipper and pitcher plants that are endemic to the region and which is spread over the diverse contours & topography amidst the sprawling meadow as the haven of pastimes and festivities. The perilous cliffs and steeped cobbled stairways astride the peripheries of the all-pervasive limestone regions of our state surrounded with soothing vegetation and precarious rocky facade.
The everyday tribal life is also depicted across the landscape, showcasing tribal people in traditional attire at the hilltop and a hardworking maiden ferrying the Khasi mandarin oranges to signify the harmonious coexistence between human and nature in consonant with other creatures within the bosom of mother earth.