An artist manager & activist, Nokho Nyekha, joined us in Shillong from Nagaland for a few days to work with us on the Design Challenge at Beachhouse Project. The design challenge was focused on Creating More Opportunities for Creators in North East India and 16 Creative Entrepreneurs from across India worked on it during their stay at Beachhouse Project.
She penned down her experience and her thoughts on the Beachhouse Project. Read on..
“As an unseen blessing from God, the third edition of the Beachhouse Project (BHX) was recently held in Shillong, with sixteen Creative Entrepreneurs from different cities of India, including Sri Lanka. For novices like me in this field, The Beachhouse Project is a series of intellectually stimulating residency programs designed for creative entrepreneurs endowed with gifts of culture showcasing. This unique initiative enables people to explore their thoughts and ideas and adds that extra zing and takes productivity of their work to a higher level. I am in awe and salute the Maverick Jaytirth Ahya who is the brainchild behind this revolutionary project, along with his amazing and dynamic team of four who nurtured the program with unflinching zeal.
Participants, as needed and envisaged, were a mixed bag of young doers and creators all sub 25 years of age with different backgrounds, and comprised of professional illustrators, designers, advertisers, filmmakers, content strategists, travel and festival curators, among others.
What makes BHX special and endearing is the fact that they unite the residents into solving design challenges of locals wherever it is held. The Beachhouse Project Shillong, thus, focused on understanding the challenges of Creators in the North East, which was headed by Kritika Hora, a graduate from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design.
It was awe inspiring one week of cross culture connections, learning, and sharing. The program was conducted at a century old British Bungalow, perched on a hilltop in the heart of Shillong added its own charm to the intellectual proceedings. I was truly privileged to get the opportunity to join them for three days to share about the challenges of my home state, Nagaland.
Joined by Hasina of Impulse and a young upcoming music producer, Avi, the sessions were heavy in content and intense in thoughts. Imagine, you had sixteen genius minds, who had never visited the region, were ignorant of the culture, few totally virgin to the knowledge of the region and they were trying to understand the ground realities and coming up with workable solutions. I was left in utter shock, when, in two days they gave birth to seventy new practical ideas which could help, sustain and give a flip to the industry of the region.
After collecting varied insights and making observations, the BHX Residents collectively brainstormed and homed on to one idea they envisaged had the maximum potential. The final solution from the challenge thrown at us not only brought the residents together and enabled sharing of perspectives, but also allowed us to create a framework under which we would execute the task.
Fructification of the noble idea : Legends of North East - A mentor ship program for upcoming creators and entrepreneurs. The vision of the program is to identify, nurture and create opportunities for the young creators and entrepreneurs while learning from the greatest musicians, artists, photographers, and craftsmen of the region. The aim : to form a self-supporting community to help, and guide each other.
Creative industry in the North East is rapidly expanding and its amazing talent is slowly beginning to push themselves beyond the boundaries and exploring their own creativity in different fields. Creativity is a natural endowment gifted to us in this remote region, which stemmed from geographic isolation and harshness of nature allowing imagination to run wild and free, bereft from outside influences. From the music industry to theatrical plays; From digital art to mural art; From crafts to designing; from photography to videography; the list is endless. Thanks to the internet which opened the eyes of the younger generation to a number of opportunities they would never have imagined possible prior.
It is interesting to note that most creative artists of the region are self-taught, making full use of the resources available on the internet, even though some are slowly beginning to take professional courses to polish their professional interests.
Despite the massive potential and the rise of Creative Industry, it is still at a nascent stage. Creators, thus, continue to face numerous challenges in creating a standard acceptable mark of their brands, and more than 60% are forced to give up after a few years, due to the economic un-viability and the few who continue to push through continue to struggle, where a good scores unwillingly embrace a second job to make ends meet. Core areas of challenges include marketing themselves or their products, expanding network beyond the region, lack of motivation, mentors and non-recognition from the society itself. The result? A multitude of creative genius who was never given the chance to believe in themselves, end up doing jobs they don't enjoy doing, become under confident of their abilities leading to rise in frustration, despair and seeking recourse through drugs etc in an already addiction infested society.
If we unite, if we provide a new illuminating path, if we show grit and determination of people like Jaytith Ahya, Kritika Hora and host of others who have embarked on this unique journey and venture, then all is not lost and it is encouraging to see a number of motivated youth who have seen the world, slowly re-establish their roots back at home and take the responsibility of helping and uplifting the industry of the region.
Having said that, I am aware that more concrete initiatives are needed one of which could be in opening doors for Multi National Companies to explore the region, as well as paving a cumber-less mechanism for the creators and entrepreneurs of the region to connect with the rest of India.
Initiatives like BHX are slowly igniting the flame to help build the creative industry in the region. The best part of the program besides my takeaways was that now we now have two scores of additional new ambassadors who has seen the region and connected with it. Now, I can look forward to numerous collaborations among the residents and the creators of the region. A spark was ignited at Lachaumiere House and we cannot afford to let it die down.
Though undeniably there are numerous areas that need to be developed for the industry to flourish, but we have to focus on doable and now it is time for the passionate people of the region to come out of their cocoons and be fearless to take risks and meet challenges of doing business beyond the safe environs region. I am of a firm belief for where the comfort zone ends, the life begins.”