Chisel, hew and sculpture
Who is an artist? What is the identity of
an artist? All these days, I have been praising art in books and articles over
the internet. According to me, an artist is the one who expresses his
feelings through various forms of activities.
As an Indian, I am proud of the unique
culture and I stand with my head held high. India is a land which has given
birth to diverse cultures and various art forms right from ancient times.
However, due to globalization and extensive use of mechanics, our culture and
art have got affected immensely. This results in suffering of artists/craftsmen
and so are their work. Preserving the ancient art forms has become a great
concern. Nowadays, it’s only through exhibitions and events that we can learn
our varied culture and the intricate work of the artisans. Art and craft lovers
have joined hands to preserve the rich heritage of India through different
organizations. They not only try to showcase the art and their talent but also
try to promote it among the youths. The objective behind doing this is to
preserve our priceless heritage and pass it on to future generations.
My love for arts and crafts had me walking
into a five-day event “A hundred hands” (6th edition) held in Bangalore. The
exhibition was initiated by the NGO ‘A hundred hands’ which was founded by Mala
and Sonia Dhawan. And just like the name suggests, “A hundred hands” is formed
by a hundred artistic hands. I was amazed to see people using sustainable ways
of living. The centuries-old art is being kept alive due to its originality,
uniqueness, and utilitarianism.
Pollinate Energy unit was the first of the
stalls that I walked into. This social enterprise has come up to brighten the
society using solar cells. The use of solar cells is an alternative to India’s
urban poor population to make their lives better. This NGO is not only restricted to Bangalore
but also extends to Hyderabad and Kolkata and is also linked to a charitable
trust from Australia too. Working with this team as an intern will be a great
challenge and one can gain exposure to Monitoring and Evaluation. A certificate
will be generated at the end of the program. This is a way where one can help
and change the lives of the poor.
Proper care should be taken if one has
planted a plant or a seedling. Potting and caring a plant should be in a way
such that one is taking care of one’s own baby. Monisha Lobo demonstrates this
ideology in a perfect way. Monisha
Lobo’s collection “Rare Earth” was an assemblage of spectacular plants. These
plants have been grown in pots and hence known as “Pot gardening”. Due to her
years of experiment and dedication, Monisha has the perfect knowledge of
growing a succulent and bromeliad singly or together. “Each piece is easy to
maintain as it is planted in sterilized soil-less potting mix”, Monisha said
with enthusiasm. I must say that the plants were so decorative that adorn any
part of the house.
An old man in his 70’s came all the way
from Kutch to display his excellence in Charpai weaving. It takes only 2 days
to complete a whole charpai. Right opposite to that, my eyes rolled over onto
the colorful baskets. I learned that the craftsmen were from Uttar Pradesh and
the multi-color baskets were made of grass. The baskets can be used as fruit or
flower baskets which will enhance the beauty of your dining table.
Every state has its own style of carving
things. Creativity has a story of its own. Likewise, the state Karnataka has
its unique story of handlooms and embroidery. Usha J. Pawar started Kasuti
embroidery back 25 years ago as her passion. Currently, Kasuti has become her
obsession now drove her to take up summer classes. “Gavanti, Murgi, Negi and
Mente stiches,” Usha showed me the different types of embroidery with pleasure.
Through her work, she is trying to promote it more. The embroidery has been
done for table mats, wall hangings, and even sarees. The embroidery was
nature-driven since early days; as artisans used to draw whatever they used to
see and got inspired. Hence, one can find temples, elephant, peacock and stars
too in the creations.
As I enter the next shop I felt like
stepping into the world of colors. Colors were used to draw various
patterns like landscapes and nature; by using a heat source like iron or hot
plate. The best part of this art is using beeswax which is generously coated
with different colors. Arati Bedekar got inspired by this ancient art form of
Greece, popularly known as Encaustic Art and can be transcribed onto canvas in
When people think about Indian Kitchen, it
can’t be complete without our authentic spices. But wait, we use spices for
preparing Pot Biryani, Chicken Kadhai, Paneer Butter Masala or Malabar Fish
curry. However, Ms. J.S Jayanthi uses these spices to make different gifting
stuff and home decors. She uses clove, cardamom seeds, cinnamon bark, star
anise to make beautiful wall hangings and designs. “It’s a great gifting
choice”, she said.
Mughals were famous for their varied
interests on art and culture. They used to command to perform and praise
different forms of music, dance forms and art. One of this is Wooden Block
Carving which is in extinct status due to the digitalization. However, Mohammad
is providing a great way to preserve this ancient art of India. He is one of
them who started doing this since childhood. One can find animals, gods and
goddesses, fruits, vegetables carved intricately on a wooden base. It’s an
exceptional way to preserve one’s roots and even making a way out for
Our ancient India is wrapped with epics and
Mythological stories, stories which our youths are rarely aware of. To educate
them, Pattachitra can be of great help which demonstrates art in cotton
clothes. This art-form India is privileged to own. Akshaya Kumar Bariki is one
of them who has not only tried to keep this art alive but also been successful
to scribble his name in golden words. He has been awarded in 2011 by UNESCO for
his noble work.
Our society is also blessed with physically
challenged. The products which they
produce are excellent and hence foundations like Diya Foundation and Foundation
for Art and Culture for deaf showcase their talent to the world without any
hesitation. They have products like candles and sketches which not only provide
products to the market but also deliver a strong message of identifying one’s
Kerala is famous for using natural colors.
Mural Painting is a special art form of Kerala. Mural painting can be done in
wooden bases to prepare neck pieces, wall hangings, earrings, and bracelets
too. Murals can be found on temple
Tribes are our roots somehow or the other.
Earlier days, people used to make their own houses, decorate it by themselves
by using clay products, bamboo articles, etc. This shows that they were capable
of producing their own products rather depending on factories. The worst part
for them is poverty and hence cannot bring their products to the market. Hence,
Tribal Health Initiative has jumped up to help this tribal community through
“Porgai” program in Tamil Nadu. One can purchase a local tribal craft to
empower them and, on the other hand, helps in promoting the dying art too.
During my walk through the stalls, I passed
by knitting store and even the Dying Art of Sanjhi Paper cutting. The silver
store from Orissa sparkling with silver earrings and neck pieces tempted me to
spend on those big “Jhumkas”.
Not but the least, I have the last counter
“The Denim project”. If you want a trendy clutch, handbags, iPad covers,
wallets I would suggest contacting this unit. These priceless products are manufactured by the Psychiatric patients of NIMHANS. I was mesmerized by seeing
the amazing work. This project is growing day by day with an objective of
providing employment to the needy. Please help them for this noble cause by
donating your unused old jeans.
It’s conspicuous that there are many of us
who are trying hard to preserve our tradition. People think India doesn’t have
much scope in Art and Crafts as craftsmen don't get much exposure for their
products. The products demand more of manual work which is also a big
disadvantage and, in turn, increases the cost. Since, the demand is less for
such antique products and hence production is low. These products are very rare
and are not available in normal stores. For example, Tribal jewelry is in
fashion however there are very few stores to display those. And in turn, the
cost will be maximal. The products range
from saree, Kolhapuri chappals, fabric from different parts of the country
excites art and craft lovers. As per current scenario, this market is restricted
to a particular niche of people. A majority of them are from upper urban class
as they are comfortable in paying money. Most of the people visit to buy them,
but very few understand their value. Once these priceless products hit the
heart and mind of the common public, no one can stop flourishing this generic
market. From now on, buy those cotton sarees from West Bengal, wall Hangings
from Odisha and Kurtis from Lucknow. Let’s join hands to praise, promote and
preserve the beauty of India.