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Cute Naga Dolls Handcrafted by Artist Ikali Sukhalu

Say hello to Ikali Sukhalu! She is a 29-year-old fashion designer from Nagaland, who has reached fame as the creator of ‘Lil’ Naga’ – a range of amazingly cute dolls that can lighten up anyone’s mood!


Photo Courtesy : Ikali Sukhalu

She’s a graduate from Wigan & Leigh Mumbai in fashion technology and fashion business, and holds a degree from London College of Fashion. Her journey started in 2015 when she won NIAPA (North East India Academy of Performing Arts) contest. She also showcased her work “Tribal Trible” in the New York Couture Week in 2014.

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‘lil Naga – Naga Dolls by Ikali Sukhalu

We caught up with Ikali and learned about her inspiration behind ‘Lil Naga’ – the range of cute dolls that depict Nagaland’s traditional tribal attire.

  • Hi Ikali, what was the inspiration behind these Naga dolls?

I saw them first in Hong Kong. There were these Chinese dolls and I thought it would be fun to try and make something similar but with a local twist. I started experimenting with them in my studio and voila! ‘Lil Naga’ was born. Each doll is wearing a Naga traditional attire – so that people can learn about the many tribes and their costumes through these dolls.


Naga Dolls by Ikali Sukhalu

  • What are these dolls made of?

They are made of wood and handwoven naga shawls/textiles. Completely natural and hand made.

  • How has been the experience so far?

Well, the first batch was an experiment but they came out really well and people really seemed to like them. As an artist, it has been a challenging and exhilarating task to bring Nagaland’s rich culture to life through the dolls. I plan to continue experimenting with new looks while keeping the flavor of tradition and cultures intact.


Naga Dolls by Ikali Sukhalu

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Naga Dolls by Ikali Sukhalu

You can visit Ikali’s studio on Facebook and Instagram.

David Sangma

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