Centrepiece

Women’s Writing and Art from Northeast India

Edited by Parismita Singh

Centrepiece

Edited by Parismita Singh

Distributed for Zubaan Books

200 pages | color illustrations throughout | 9 3/4 x 7 1/4
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9789385932410 Published June 2018 World sales rights except India
Though the northeastern region of India contains eight ethnically diverse, politically complex, and historically different states, it is often homogenized into a problematic category called “the northeast.” Many stereotype it as a region of conflict clouding India’s periphery. The diversity of the region, its rich histories, its many literatures, and its women—who run businesses, fight for peace, and battle their men as rights-bearers—all of these admirable elements of the region tend to disappear in the face of such stereotyping.
 
Centrepiece brings together twenty-one women from across the northeastern states of India to reflect on the personal nature and meanings of work through their own words and pictures. Whether they are brewing beer, carrying cow dung on their heads, or selling food in the streets, these women confront, love, reject, and laugh at their men in myriad ways. Visually stunning, with full-color images, Centrepiece illustrates how traditional tribal art and modern sensibilities can intersect to create a new visual language for these women to share untold stories. They tell their tales here with both gravity and joy, bringing alive their cultures and showing us how to see a fresh perspective of this region and its people.
 
Review Quotes
ThePrint
“The writing and art manage to delineate the complexities and contradictions associated with the Northeastern identity without exoticising the region or its people. Centrepiece through a wide variety of writings and images brings to the readers, stories of a region which still remains largely absent in the popular imagination.”
 
Open
Centrepiece is a gorgeous collection, with page after page of beauty and surprise. What emerges is a heterogeneous series of portraits and worldviews. There is a clear—and admirable—refusal to pander to the non-Northeastern gaze, and so an outsider reader does not suffer from a niggling sense of voyeurism either. Both female experiences and the distinct cultures of the Northeast are given primacy in a rare and rewarding way. There is so much here to enjoy and be educated by.”
 
Outlook
“Edited by Parismita Singh, the anthology collates diverse perspectives and positions, memories and motifs to convey the idea of women at work in the Northeast. Through visual and word for­mats, this aesthetic is explored thro­ugh stories, poems, essays and art works. . . . The non-­linear architecture of the book, with its visual-word interplay, makes it a refreshing addition to anthologies on the Northeast.”
 
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