The Barna Kutir Artists Village in Sivasagar district, which was inaugurated by Jnanpeeth Awardee litterateur Mamoni Raisom Goswami, added a masks gallery to mark the celebration of its 18th anniversary.

The gallery was inaugurated recently by Sangeet Natak Akademi deputy secretary Rajiv Das.

Sujit Baruah, an artist and founder of Barna Kutir, said two officers from the Majuli and Sivasagar tourism departments, who attended the ceremony, said Barna Kutir would be included in the tourist map of Sivasagar district.

Baruah said the year had been less eventful than previous years due to the Covid19 pandemic but the addition of the mask corner added value to the facility.

“The traditional masks in a variety of sizes and shapes would be an additional draw for tourists who could buy them if they wanted,” he said.

“The masks have decorative value and are small enough to be taken back with them in purses or suitcases,” Baruah further said.

The gallery will get added value after a project for product development of masks under the development commissioner of handicraft scheduled to start from January 11 for 20 days would be completed.

Ten artisans would be taught how to better the design of the mask, make it a miniature and add other infusions while retaining its traditional look.

These masks would be put up as exhibits in the gallery and sold.

The masks made by satras (Neo Vaishnavaite monasteries) all over the state and are worn by mythical characters in the mukha ( mask) bhaonas, dramas portraying scenes from the life of Lord Krishna.

The Barna Kutir Artists Village located at Gohain Ali, 1.5 km off NH 37 and about 7 km away from Sivasagar town in the Kowamara Satra land in Kowamora Gaon Revenue Circle.

Since its inception, the institute has promoted art and handicrafts by organising workshops, training and exhibitions.

The facility also has exhibition halls for the handicrafts and paintings made on site.

Two art schools are also run by Barna Kutir, one Rangchora in the town and the other at Barna Kutir in the countryside.

Baruah informed that this year neither any classes nor exhibition of the students was held

However, an exhibition of senior artists was held.

One of the functions held this year was a zikir zari presentation with artistes affiliated to All India Radio rendering the songs at a function.

Another event was the holding of an awards function by the Assam Book of Records.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com