A colourful handicrafts exhibition in the city shows off the lesser-known art forms of India.
The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, with the support of the Office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles has brought to the city a colourful exhibition of handicrafts from all across the country.
With the aim to promote livelihood for artisans, this thematic exhibition-cum-sale comprises 40 artisans under the GI crafts (Crafts with Geographical Indication Tag) and Scheduled Caste category, from 11 states. A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products that correspond to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country).
Father-son duo Bahar Chitrakar and Sirajul from Kali Ghat, West Bengal have set up a stall filled with vibrant Pattachitra art—cloth-based scroll painting—in hues of red, yellow, and orange. “There are 22 members in our family and we all make Pattachitra, which is based on old folk songs of the region and is made in the form of scrolls, some measuring up to 15 feet. The chitra (painting) is made on paper and mounted on long meters of cloth. We use natural colours like black from lamp soot, yellow from Haldi, blue from the aparajita flower and red from betel leaves,” lists Chitrakar.
While artist Surender Nayak Acharya from Bhubaneswar, is also an expert in Pattachitra, for the exhibition he has brought art done on palm leaf. “Apart from painting on cloth, I have the most amazing engravings over a palm leaf. This is a very complicated art form and is done on dried palm leaves that are stitched up together to look like a canvas,” explains Acharya, adding, “This is to be done delicately, as one small wrong move can destroy the whole effort. For palm leaf carving, we use likhni to carve the design and use kajal to paint the carvings.”
The expo, taking place at Growel's 101 Mall in Kandivali, comprises an array of products ranging from handicrafts, bamboo products, home textiles, and fashion jewellery to gifts and decorations, carpets, rugs, and lamps, to name a few.
Another vibrant display comes from 26-year-old artist Samapti Singh from West Bengal, who has variety of dupattas, sarees, and stoles with intricate Kantha embroidery hanging around her stall. “It is a freestyle embroidery and takes about six months to prepare a Kantha saree, which is why it is so precious and a must-have for all women. It’s fully hand made. My mother started this 30 years ago and I just took over to help her.”
Among the handicrafts is an earthen display of terracotta pottery from Rajasthan. Craftsman Manak Lal Prajapat clarifies that it is no easy or an ordinary job. “It requires dedication and is a time-consuming process to craft a masterpiece. We craft decorative pieces for home and gardens and also utensils, which is the new trend for health-conscious people, as they are a healthy way to cook nutritious food. All our products are entirely hand made,” says Prajapat.