Guwahati: Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi recently honoured artist Hem Chandra Goswami of Chamaguri Satra at Raj Bhavan in Guwahati for his wonderful work and contribution towards the enrichment of traditional, ceremonial and ritualistic mask making (mukha-shilpa) that has earned national & international recognition and patronage.
“I was really impressed with his expertise in making masks. I have personally visited Satra and closely observed his art-works. He has dedicated his life and efforts for the preservation of this rare tradition to ensure its survival despite all odds,” said the Governor.
The art of mask making has been an exquisite culture of Satras in Majuli. The masks are designed to bring out the character being enacted in Bhaona and Raas festival. The ancient tradition of mask-making where biodegradable raw materials like bamboo, cane, kumar-maati, cow dung, jute fibre, paper, natural colours, etc are used, reflects an artful means of interaction through performance.
Majuli, the human-inhabited river island of Brahmaputra, is a hub of neo-Vaishnavite culture while the 15th-16th century saint, philosopher, social reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva nurtured the Satra institutions. Sankaradeva introduced the mask in the traditional theatre to portray various mythological characters.
Governor Mukhi honoured Goswami with a Sarai, Gamocha, an appreciation letter and Rs 50,000 from his discretionary fund. The Governor in presence of Goswami’s brother (Krishna Goswami, also an artist) and son along with Governor’s commissioner & secretary SS Meenakshi Sundaram and other Raj Bhavan workers, also wished him good health and a successful life ahead.