Alex Hauhulh | July 2023 | Art |

This artwork is inspired by a Mizo folktale that depicts the life of a young girl Mauruangi. Mauruangi lived with her parents in a village. One day, her parents went to the forest to fetch a type of bamboo called pumphir. On the way, they had to cross a rickety wooden bridge, and the husband said, “When we return, whoever is afraid to cross this bridge must be pushed down into the water.” At the field, the husband tied a heavy load for his wife, while he took a light one for himself. When they arrived at the bridge, the wife was afraid to cross it, so her husband pushed her into the water and she turned into a giant catfish or Thaichhawninu.

Upon being told of her mother’s fate, Mauruangi was inconsolable. Her father soon got remarried to a widow in the village. At first the stepmother treated Mauruangi kindly, but gradually began to ill treat her as time passed. Mauruangi was made to do all the chores, and was given rice husk to eat. The poor girl grew thinner by the day.

One day Mauruangi, grieving for her mother, went to the river. Her mother, the catfish Thaichhawninu appeared and spoke to her, revealing herself to Mauruangi. She told Mauruangi how much she had missed her, and Mauruangi also proceeded to tell her all about her life, and how her stepmother mistreated her and starved her.

This artwork depicts this moment of reunion between mother and daughter. The ideation sketch reveals the thought process of the artist, and how he interprets the process of transformation that Mauruangi’s mother underwent from human to catfish.

(Editor’s Note – If anyone is interested to read the story of Mauruangi, there are excellent translations available online. We thank the artist Alex Hauhulh, and the owner of this artwork Mamawii for letting us publish this in our Journal.)


Alex H.Lalremruatpuia (Alex Hauhulh) is a singer, songwriter and artist from Zotlang, Lunglei.

You can find him on his Instagram @alexhauhulh


Find The Mean Journal on Instagram @MeanPepperVine


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