Friday, July 8, 2011

Animation Workshop in Nagaland

A second visit to Nagaland came about in early 2009.  This was a direct result of the meeting with Sentila Yanger at Tribal Weave, and her submission of the proposal for Government support for an Animation Workshop in Nagaland as part of their Capacity Building agenda.  At last the funds were sanctioned and I returned to the remote state travelling on the Rajdhani train from Delhi for about 35 hours all the way to Dimapur.  The venue for the workshop was the Aries Sound Studio and there were fifteen young participants who had registered for it. 

Young Delhi based Naga animator Oyimbong Imchen was the assistant for the workshop, which attracted considerable media attention in the local newspapers.  Participants were introduced to the process of storytelling through the animation medium.  The workshop began with a storytelling session  to choose a story to develop for an animation film but as few of the participants could recollect any of their traditional folktales, the group went on to work on the story of Man, Tiger and Spirit for the rest of the workshop.   For 21 days the team assembled to learn about scriptwriting, storyboarding, character design, editing, sound recording and animation.  Although the studio was one of the best in Dimapur, the days were interrupted by power cuts and only two computers were available.  This was not very important however as the participants did not have experience of the software, and were instead encouraged to make three dimensional puppets for animation from wire, foam and latex and to try out stop motion animation using cowrie shells which are commonly seen in Naga art. 

The dialogues for the characters were translated into various Naga languages (Angami, Konyak, Chungli Ao and Lotha), and the group thoroughly enjoyed trying to create cartoon voices for the third week of the workshop.    The workshop was fun, but it was a challenge to maintain interest amongst a reserved group that had limited exposure anything other than mainstream cartoons and Japanese Manga art.  Subsequent experience has shown that students need to be pushed to come up with original ideas and to experiment with artistic styles, as they are naturally drawn to the easy options of imitating what they have seen on television. 

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