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Art gallery opens at Kaziranga

Jorhat, Dec. 15: Visitors to Kaziranga can now take back an artful souvenir of Assam from the art gallery at Iora Resort, which opened today.

For artists, too, the gallery — which has been built in memory of Bhupen Hazarika — will provide a unique opportunity to reach out to a national and international clientele. Thousands of tourists throng Kaziranga National Park every year between November and May.

Artist Noni Borpujari, who put up a solo exhibition today, said tourists usually miss out on local art because the galleries are mostly located in and around Guwahati. Professional artists would get maximum exposure at the gallery here in Kaziranga, Borpujari said.

“We are happy that we can put up our pieces here. We are yet to draw up the criteria for what will be showcased but it should be representative of the state and the Northeast. The paintings should also be smaller in size so that visitors can easily carry them back,” he said. Upcoming and lesser-known artists will also be given an opportunity. They will have to send photographs of their paintings and, if selected, their works will be put up for display.

Golaghat deputy commissioner Julie Sonowal, who opened the gallery, said it was a very good endeavour that would benefit both artists and tourists. Some of Borpujari’s landscapes on display rivalled the natural beauty outside.

Emmet Purtill from France, who is married to an Assamese lady, chose a red and blue painting as his favourite. He said it reminded him of a book he had read — Red river and blue hills. “This I think represents the hues and shades of this land,” he said.

Another painting of a girl holding up a bunch of flowers drew visitors’ eyes with its typical rural background.

Visitors coming to the upscale resort near Kohora can experience more of Assam’s culture at the Assam rural hub where famous ethnic Karbi and other designs from nearby villages jostle for space on an array of woven cane and bamboo table mat sets and lampshades and wooden rhinos. Small packets of tea and organically grown pepper can also be found at nominal prices.

The proprietor of the resort, Barnali Sarma, said the hub had been set up with the help of the Indian Institute Entrepreneurship, an organisation that helps weavers get a market, and the ministry of panchayat and rural development.

“We have asked the more than 150 weavers who contribute to the hub to make mats, cushion covers, tablecloths, sofa covers with the traditional motifs apart from mekhela sadors and gamosas,” she said.