Idu Mishmi indigenous community of Arunachal Pradesh have an old saying,
"tai koyeen reeyee pruin muin" which defines the role of a good Idu woman.
Tai- nurturing the family
Koyeen- should be able to cook for a large gathering and should know how to cook in large vessels on fire.
Pruin- taking care of the pigs and cattle
Muin- resource management, saving and keeping stock of accounts
While reflecting the simplicity of the expectation from a woman of this animist ethnic society, it also reflects the hardworking nature of their everyday life. Living in close proximity with Idu women, I realised that their willingness to take responsibility comes from a strong dedication to their community life. This strength derived from close community living is a result of years of collective protection from the neighbouring tribes. They walk the jungles with their Dao (local machete), bring nutrition to their families by foraging edible leaves, do appropriate meat storage and distribution, collect dry wood and twigs, tend to the animals that are their main wealth, and make clothes for their family.
Emerging from this lifestyle, are these beautiful weaves describing the life of an Idu woman and what she sees around her.
Idu Yaku Kesha Mitando
Idu female very beautiful!
This sari takes the context of original indigenous weaves of Idu Mishmi tribe and puts it in harmony with hand spun, hand woven natural dyed Eri silk of Assam through an execution of asymmetrical patchwork.
Dimasa indigenous weaves in the pallu puts the final signature on the sari just before the completion of this canvas!
With the help of Anjite Menjo, I got an opportunity to work with weavers of Roing, Abali, Hunli, Brinli and Dambuk, involving Anjite’s extended family, as well as expert weavers like Akena Mimi from Brinli/hunli and Adele from Abali during awareness drive on use of cotton instead of synthetic yarns. All the Idu Mishmi weaves in the collection are made with pure cotton.
This adaptation is a tribute to one of rarest indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh, still practicing indigenous belief system of nature worship and Shamanism. Idu Mishmi language has been listed as “definitely endangered” by UNESCO, so I stand in support of this ancient language in repeating these words to you all in the form of names of various weave motifs.