Setting up the convergence of culture and depicting the heritage of Meghalaya, the state Art and Culture Department instill a cultural welcome gate at State Central Library Shillong. This is part of the run-up to the upcoming Golden Jubilee Celebration of the State. The Arch Gate reflects the cultural heritage of the state as it becomes an iconic structure in the state capital.
The Arch gate was inaugurated by Art and culture Minister AL Hek on Thursday. Inaugurating the gate on 49th Meghalaya Day, Hek said, “This arch gate symbolizes the tradition and culture of our tribes and our tribal people and since we are celebrating 49 years of statehood I attribute this arch gate to those who fought for our statehood.”
Very soon this arch gate will have an artistic mural which will mean revisiting the intangible heritage of Meghalaya. Around Rs 13 lakh is allocated for the entire project.
Informing about this, Commissioner Secretary Incharge art and culture FR Kharkongor told Meghalaya News 24 in an exclusive interview, “State Central Library has been the long year the centre for Arts and culture activities in the state, it was thought that we should have an iconic representation here at the state central library starting from the gate itself, so long there was no visible cultural gate, now we hope with the incorporation of this artistic elements.”
Talking about further expansion of artistic work, Kharkongor said, “There is much work to follow as there is an artistic mural that is coming up, plus on the gate itself it will showcase various elements of the Khasi and Jaintia tribe as well as Garo tribe to make it into a kind of visible and important symbol and a showcase of the state’s culture, so we live in the age of social media we hope that in the days to come it will be a photo or selfie point for visitors who come to Shillong.”
“In Shillong we hope as this project nears this completion, it will steadily emerge as one of the iconic areas in Shillong,” he added.
Asked further about the structure, he said, “State central library is a centre for Art and culture, so this here on the top is basically a drum, there is a Khasi drum and a Garo drum there is a Nakra and there is a Bom, they both represent two major tribes and the part on top use as a Khasi umbrella is also used to de-husk rice is something like a protective element and also is a visible important symbol of our culture.”
Now, the art and culture gate will have an artistic representation depicting the pride of Meghalaya. “So this is just some elements on the gates also there will be some more artistic representation, musical instrument and jewelry and the mural on the side there is a flax there and that will b depicted in the mural which will have elements of secret groves, living rot bridge, waterfall, caves, paddy field, intangible heritage of our city,” he said.
The Artistic work is done by Meghalaya Day awardee Rafael Warjri. When asked what made him zero down this concept, Warjri told Meghalaya News 24, “Since it is the front arch gate to proclaim there is no other elements more appropriate than drums, both Khasi and Garo with these two simplistic elements we try to convey the entire cultural landscape of Meghalaya.”