Bringing the festivities back to life – The New Indian Express
Express news service
Kalpana Das, a designer from West Bengal (WB) who had previously worked with Bangladeshi artisans, lamented how the pandemic has affected her craft. Showcasing his own style of hand-woven gamcha kantha, Das brings a modern twist to traditional clothing. By sourcing his textiles from Nadia (WB), Das transforms them into clothing, jewelry, bags and even hand-woven doilies. Its goal is to employ women from various parts of the country to pursue a sustainable career path. Even though the pandemic rendered his entire project useless, Das explains how the Dastkari Haat Samiti (DHS) has helped artisans and designers in these difficult times. ” Mrs [Jaya Jaitly, founder and president of the DHS] suggested that I make masks and rakhis with gamchas, ”commented Das, 36.
With Covid restrictions lifted in the city and the holiday season quickly approaching, Delhi is starting to regain its old world charm. As the city is once again ready to prepare for the festivities, DHS, a national organization of craftspeople from across the country, unveiled its five-day Diwali Crafts Bazaar on Friday. Home to over 30 artisans from different corners of India, this bazaar is one of the first exhibitions to make a comeback after the pandemic hit the exhibition and event industry in 2020. Held at 1AQ Gallery, Mehrauli , this open-air venue has artisan stalls selling a range of crafts in the form of textiles, clothing, accessories, home decor, among a few. DHS, founded by Jaya Jaitly in 1986, began to organize haats [translated in English as markets] in different cities, taking handicrafts from all over India and introducing these craftsmen to people all over the country. This business was not only an attempt to showcase the indigenous handicrafts of India, but also to enable artisans to understand the tastes of different consumers.
Crafts and artisans
The artisans presented at the fair are either individual businesses or craft projects supported by NGOs. Handicrafts here range from Andhra Pradesh cowhide puppets, Banarasi loom, Patachitra art from Odisha, Gamcha jewelry, Dhokra carvings, and more. Each stand also has specific disinfection booths.
The new members of the bazaar are artists Kuldeepak and Naveen Soni who bring Pichwai art from Bhilwara, Rajasthan. The unique selling point of their art is that they give a contemporary look to the traditional Pichwai. “As third generation artists in this tradition, we wanted to experience this art form. While the theme is traditional with patterns of Shrinathji, cows, lotuses and bananas, we use contemporary art as geometric patterns and a more subtle color palette, ”explained the Soni brothers.
Natural and durable
Most of the artisanal products of the artisans who present here are natural and environmentally friendly. Kag Pahar, the miniature tree-style painting by Hemant Kumawat from Jaipur, uses natural dyes collected by his family from the forests. Likewise, Ananda, a product of the NGO Unnati, specializes in natural indigo Shibori clothing made by women in the village of Sarfabad. “Nature is beautiful, but we are blind,” said Anup Roy, director of Ananda, while explaining the thought process behind using all-natural dyes.
When asked what she thought of the show’s success, Jaitly said she kept her fingers crossed until the very end. Speaking of the initiative, she mentions: “I have always thought that it was better to bring the artist out to familiarize himself. [with consumers] and allow them to establish their own contacts. She was also extremely happy with the place, which was quite different from their usual. She says, “It expresses the atmosphere that we love. After that, if they wrap a saree in newspaper and tie it with jute twine, I think it blends in beautifully with the surroundings. We have come back to nature, ”concludes the 79-year-old founder.
EVENT DETAILS: Dastkari Haat Samiti Diwali Handicraft Bazaar is open until October 12 (11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) at 1AQ Gallery, Qutub Minar Complex Road, Mehrauli. Admission is free for all.