L. SOMI ROY
 

L. SOMI ROY
Founder and Managing Trustee

Work in Film: A film and media curator out of New York, Roy has curated for The Asia Society, Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum, and the Smithsonian, among others. His film exhibitions have been seen across the US and in China, India, Indonesia and Israel.

Roy was Festival Director of the Gold Coast International Film Festival in New York, the Asian American Film Festival of New York, and the New York Indian Film Festival. He produced animation displays for the Atlanta Olympics, the International Women's Conference in Beijing, and HD for Tokyo Broadcasting System in New York.

Academia: He has taught at New York University and Manhattan Marymount College and has written on film and culture for The Smithsonian, Wide Angle, Artforum, International Documentary, the Black Film Bulletin of British Film Institute, and The Drama Review. He has given talks at the National Geographic Society, the Asia Society, and the Smithsonian Institution in the US; and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, TISS in Mumbai, and at Manipur University.

Presenting Manipur Internationally : Roy has a singular record of experience in the presentation and dissemination of Manipuri culture on the international stage.

Venues include the United Nations, New York Public Library, Harvard University, Symphony Space NYC, and University of Kentucky in the US; and Cambridge University and the Royal Asiatic Society in England.

Roy worked with The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. and Newark Museum on exhibiting Manipuri costumery; and with Japan Society, in New York on Page Out of Order: M2M, on a performance on the submerged cultures of Macedonia and Manipur. He worked with my Alford Manor House, Lincolnshire, UK, on costumery and textiles to commemorate the centenary of the Kuki Uprising of World War I.

Translating Binodini: Roy's translations of the works of M.K. Binodini Devi from the Manipuri include My Son, My Precious (Cinewave, Kolkata, 1981), Crimson Rainclouds a dual language, three script publication including archaic Meitei Mayek script (Thema Books, Kolkata, 2012), The Maharaja's Household (Zubaan Books, New Delhi, 2015) and The Girls' Hostel (Visva-Bharati Quarterly, Santiniketan, 2016). The Princess and the Political Agent (Penguin Random House India, 2020), his translation of Binodini's Sahitya Akademi Award winning historical novel, was published as a Penguin Modern Classic.

He has presented Manipuri literature in translation at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival in 2015, Cultures of Peace conference on North East Indian writing in 2013 and 2015, and multi-arts Coalition Festival in New Delhi in 2016. He has presented talks on the works of Binodini at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, Mountain Echoes literature festival in Bhutan, and at the India International Centre in New Delhi.

Books: Roy is the author of “And That Is Why”, his retelling of Manipuri myths for young adults, published in its Puffin Books imprint by Penguin Random House India in 2021. He started Imasi Publications in 2014 as an imprint of the Imasi Foundation to archive and publish the works of Binodini. To date, it has published a student edition of Binodini's memoir essays Churachand Maharajgi Imung in the Meitei Mayek script in 2021, the collected song lyrics of Binodini (2014) and her radio plays (2015). Imasi Publications also published Calamity and Courage (2014) by Belinda Morse and co-published Ninsinglakpada Jalakeli (2020) on the royal women's choir of Manipur.

Roy also built a collection of books on Manipur at the New York Public Library and established a collection of books on Manipuri history and culture at the South Asian Libraries at Columbia University in New York in 2015, which led to the inclusion of Manipuri in the Indian Civilization course at Barnard College in 2016.

Work in Archiving and Conservation: Roy's work in conservation include organizing the Myanmar Manipur Conference on the Conservation of Cultural Heritage; and the revival of MK Binodini Devi's environmental conservation dance drama Ballad of Loktak (1994/2016) in collaboration with Sangeet Natak Academy and the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy.

Roy initiated and runs The Jalakeli Project to preserve and update a Manipuri royal women's Hindu choir with historical and born-digital text, and audiovisual archiving at the University of North Texas in Denton. He organized India's first workshop on digital archival practice at and with the IGNCA in New Delhi and UNT in 2019, with a focus on training archivists in North East India.

Roy is currently working on a museum of art for North East India that he initiated and has conceptualized to be sited at the Pushpavanta Palace in Agartala, Tripura.

Polo and Pony Preservation: Roy is the principal of Huntre! Equine LLC, a social enterprise working in the nexus of sports and society. He promotes international polo in India, notably annual five editions starting in 2016 of the Manipur Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament, India's first and only international women's polo tournament, and Polo Yatra, India's first national tour of international women's polo. Huntre! Equine also created India's first women's handicapping and rating system for th country's players in the international tournament.

As a part of his initiative spearheading the preservation of the endangered Manipuri Pony, which includes the establishment of a pony preserve in Heingang Village, a state pony preservation policy, and the declaration of the Manipuri Pony as an an Endangered Breed, he installed a permanent exhibit on Manipuri polo in The Horse and Sports, and brought about the inclusion of the Manipuri Pony in the Horse Breeds of the World at International Museum of the Horse in Lexington, Ky. in 2012.

Roy is currently working on reviving and revitalizing rural polo in Manipur, and the establishment of a women's polo team for the armed forces to provide employment for the women polo players of Manipur. Click for more on Huntre! Equine...