Revealing the Faces Behind Assam’s Mask-Making Culture

in Image Gallery
Published on: 27 August 2019

Akhyai Jyoti Mahanta

Akhyai Jyoti Mahanta hails from the Jorhat district of Assam, and is a postgraduate student of Sociology at Tezpur Central University. His research interest lies in the sociocultural issues of Assam.

Assam has a long tradition of mask-making, which is thriving mainly because of the conscious efforts of some experienced artists who have been engaged in this craft for decades. This image gallery gives us a wholesome view of the practice of mask making, taking the reader from the workshops to the museums.

It includes pictures from Chittaranjan Borah’s personal museum, Kolong Kala Kendra, situated in Puronigudam (Nagaon district), where he has preserved masks and other creative items made and collected by him. It also gives us a glimpse into the museum-cum-workshop of artist Reba Kanta Mahanta, who hails from Khatpar Satra, Sivasagar district. Mahanta’s collection contains his body of work, tools to make natural colour and the various recognitions he has accumulated over the years.

Other photos that complete the gallery are from the workspaces of artists Hemchandra Goswami (Notun Samaguri Satra, Majuli district) and Jadav Chandra Mahanta (Bor Alengi Bogiai Satra, Jorhat district). Goswami’s selection is made up of masks showcased at the Raas festival in Majuli and Tezpur Central University, interior view of his personal museum and documents of his various achievements. Jadav Chandra Mahanta’s exhibit allows us insight into the technique of mask making. It comprises raw materials integral to the craft, images illustrating the process of making colour and his interactions with enthusiastic school students.