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  • Writer's pictureSpeak Your Roots

Interview with Careen J. Langstieh, Artist




1. How and why is art a suitable medium to portray indigenous life?/ Kumno bad balei ka jingdro dur ka long ka lynti pdeng kaba ïahap ban pyni bad pashat ïa ki rukom im bad ïa ki riti dustur tynrai?


Art is not only a medium to portray indigenous life but it portrays life as it is. Art in its various forms of expression has always been about capturing historical events, addressing social and political issues, also a medium of self-expression or a way of seeking answers when nothing makes sense. In our case, our ancestors have managed to do that with the art of storytelling, using metaphors, situations, words and melodies and the art of embroidery to mimic nature and stone structures all around us to make sure that their existence is not forgotten.


Ka jingdro dur kam dei ka lynti pdeng ban pyni tang ïa ki riti dustur tynrai hynrei ka dei ka lynti pdeng ban pyni ïa ka jingim briew hi kumba ka long. Ha ki rukom ba pher ba pher, ka jingdro dur ka ksoh bad kem ha ka ïa ki mat ba donkam jong ka histori, ka imlang sahlang bad ka saiñ pyrthei. Ka jingdro dur ka dei ruh ka lynti pdeng ban pynpaw ïa ka malade ne ban wad jubab haba ka wan ka jingjynjar jingmut. Ïa ngi ki Khasi, ki longshuwa manshuwa jong ngi ki la lah ban leh ïa kane lyngba ka jingtbit jong ki ban ïathuhkhana, ki rukom pynïasyriem, ki jingjia ba har rukom, ki ktien, ki sur rwai, ka suh ka thaiñ kaba pyrthuh ïa ka mei mariang bad ki jingthaw jingshna da ki maw ban pynthikna ba ngin ym klet ïa ka jingim jingman jong ki.


2. How do people respond to art that speaks about indigenous life and embodies indigenous themes? / Kumno ki briew ki sngew bad kren shaphang ka jingdro dur kaba kren shaphang ki rukom im tynrai bad kaba kynthup ïa ki phang pdeng kiba ïadei bad ki riti dustur tynrai?


Within our place I can say that our understanding of language is gradually becoming more important and interesting. We have come a long way, wherein people now have been able to express their interest and are keen in participating in discourses especially with subjects that are inclined towards our heritage and culture, our past, our stories, our origin, our traditional Khasi faith without hesitation.


Hapdeng jong ngi, nga lah ban ong ba ka jingsngewthuh shaphang ka ktien ka thylliej ka la nang man kongsan bad ring jingmut. Ngi la ïaid ïa ka lynti kaba jrong, ha kaba ki briew mynta ki la lah ban pynpaw ïa ka jingsngewtynnat bad jingkwah ban ïa shim bynta ha ki jingkren bad jingphylliew jingmut ha ki mat kiba ïadei shaphang ka jingïoh pateng jong ngi, ka deiriti, ka mynnor, ki jingïathuhkhana parom, ka thymmei, ka jingngeit Khasi tynrai khlem don ka jingartatien.


But, we should also understand that the visuals we were exposed to in the recent past has always been with the coming of Christianity and the various iconographies of the Catholic church. So visually the masses are always inclined towards everything eurocentric; everything from pictures, books, to arrangements of homes is very much according to those aesthetics.


With regard to visual art portraying indigenous life, it has always been about portraying indigenous people's life in relationship with nature.


Tangba ngi dei ban sngewthuh ba kiei kiei kiba ngi ïohi mynshuwa ki la long bad ka jingwan jong ka niam Khristan bad ki jingpynwandur nuksa jong ka balang Katholik. Te namar kata ki paidbah ki noh ka jingmut sha kiei kiei kiba longpdeng shaphang ki phareng, naduh ki dur ki dar, ki kot ki sla, ki rukom pynbeit pynitynnat ia ki ïing ki sem. Kine baroh ki long kat kum ka rukom kheiñ itynnat jong ki phareng.


Ha ka liang jong ka jingdro dur kaba pyni ïa ka jingim tynrai ki trai muluk trai jaka, ka lah ju long ka rukom ban pyni ïa ki trai muluk trai jaka ha ka jingïadei jong ki bad ka mei mariang.


3. What is the scope of art in building a past, present and future for indigenous life?/ Sngewbha pynshai shaphang ka jingïar jong ka jingdro dur ha ka jingpynwandur bad jingtei ïa ka mynnor, ka mynta bad ka lawei jong ka rukom im bad riti dustur tynrai?


Our ancestors have paved the way in expressing themselves through the art of erecting monoliths and other stone structures that have stood out prominently everywhere in our landscapes. Almost every artist I know including myself have and still continue to portray these iconic symbols in our works. With time I'm sure these stones will find a new form, new meaning and a language through the works of younger artists who are yet to come. Also our folktales and folklores will continue to allow us to understand them from perspectives beyond what we imagine now. Art will always continue to grow and change.


Ki longshuwa manshuwa jong ngi ki la prat lynti ïa kaba kumno ban pynpaw bad pyni ïalade lyngba ka jingtbit jong ki ban pynïeng ïa ki mawbynna bad kiwei kiwei ki jingshna da ki maw kiba ïeng shynna ha ki lum ki them ka ri Khasi. Jan man ki barikor ba nga ithuh bad manga ruh, ngi dang ïai bteng ban pynwandur ïa kine ki dak kiba khraw ka jingkordor ha ki jingdro dur jong ngi. Lyngba ka jingïaid ka por, nga thikna ba kine ki maw kin mih ha ki jingsaiñdur ba thymmai, da ki jingmut kiba thymmai bad ka ktien ruh kan mih da kawei ka dur lyngba ki barikor ki ban nang wan. Ki khanatang, khanaparom bad ki rukom im, rukom ngeit jong ngi kin nang ai lad ïa ngi ban sngewthuh na ki rukom ïohi kiba ngim pat lah ban mutdur. Ka jingdro dur kan nang ïar bad nang kylla.


4. In your paintings there are indigenous images which carry an indigenous ethos. What do you have to say about this?/ Ha ki jingdro dur jong phi ki don ki dur kiba pynpaw ïa ka jinglong mynsiem jong ka rukom im tynrai bad ki riti dustur tynrai. Phi don aïu ban ong halor kane?


Because I am a Khasi, I cannot create and mould that which is not part of the flesh and blood of this place. Yes, at times I imitate work which is not by me or from my homeland. But in my own individual work, my thought process flows towards those things which are the essence of being Khasi.


Namar ba nga dei ka Khasi, ngam lah ban pynwandur ïa kiei kiei ki bym longdoh longsnam na kane ka jaka. Hooid, nga pyrthuh bud hateng hateng ïa ki kam ki bym dei na lade ne na la ka ri lajong. Hynrei ïa ki kam ba shimet jong nga ka jingmut ka shoh hi tang ïa kiei kiei kiba ïadei bad ka jinglong Khasi.


Ban rakhe ïa ka International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, ka Speak Your Roots ka la ïoh ban kren bad i Kong @careenjoplinlangstieh iba dei i barikor iba bun na ngi ngi tip shaphang jong i. Ka sap ka phong i Kong Careen ka la wanrah ka burom bad ka nam ïa i bad ïa ngi ki Khasi ha ka ri India bad shabar ruh.
La thmu ban kren bad i ruh kum iwei na ki kynthei kiba stad bad shemphang shaphang ka jaitbynriew ban pynshai shuh shuh ïa ka phangpdeng jong mynta ka sngi kaba dei "The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge".
Khublei Shibun Kong @careenjoplinlangstieh ba phi la pynsngew ïa ki jingmut bad jingthmu jong phi lyngba kane ka jingïakren! 😃🙏
To celebrate International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, Speak Your Roots had the opportunity to talk with Kong @careenjoplinlangstieh who is a senior practicing artist, who is well-known among us. Kong Careen's gift and talent has brought name and fame to her and to the Khasi community in India and abroad.
It is hoped that the talk with her as one of the women who are well-versed about the Khasi community will enlighten us about this year's theme "The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge".




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