ArtEast 2020: Documenting cultures and languages

The fourth edition of 'ArtEast 2020: The Story of Telling' festival, organised by India International Centre (IIC) in collaboration with New imaginations, Jindal school of journalism and communications will be held from February 21 to 29 at Art Gallery, Kamaladevi Complex, IIC.

Curated by KishalayBhattacharjee, Associate Professor and Director, New Imaginations, the festival will have a preview session on February 20 at 5:00 pm. An underlying focus of the festival is on art, history, livelihood, migration, documentation and discussion.

This year's them for 'ArtEast' is language and it proposes to see the region through its diverse languages and visualise a new imagination of understanding the people and their histories.

Using Ganesh Devy's People's Linguistic Survey of India as a reference point, the festival will document living languages of the decolonised North Eastern "frontier" because languages move beyond hard borders and cannot to fence into administrative divisions.

India being one of the 4 countries in the world to have a large number of languages and multiple language families; North Eastern India itself has huge language diversity but here too languages are dying.

ArtEast then becomes the one of its kind festival and a repository to study, document and visualise a region linguistically that was the ancient bridge between the two most populous regions of the

world-South Asia and Southeast Asia.

ArtEast organises a diverse range of activities to enhance engagement between artists and audiences include lecture demonstrations, master classes, workshops, symposia, exhibitions and meet-the-artist sessions.

Talking about the festival, curator Kishalay Bhattacharjee said, "Migration, an overarching theme of the festival, has tremendous effect on people's lives and language and is perhaps one of the most invisible losses of people across regions."

He thinks that are extremely important because they are the holders of culture, of collective memory. The best way to conserve a language is to create livelihood, opportunities for those who speak the language.

Otherwise they will migrate to another language zone and their own language will disappear.

"Internal and external migrations across the region have made languages one of the most vulnerable cultural aspects that require attention. Art is a potent vehicle in achieving

that," he added.

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