Monday December 9, 2019

How Sedeibereni craftsmen in Odisha are keeping the lost Dhokra art alive

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By Prateek Kumar

In a small hamlet named Sedeibereni lives Dhanasur Behra, who has dedicated his life to conserve the dying art of Dhokra (Crafting metal statuette with the aid of wax). He and his family work at a meager wage of about $50 a month to create beautifully crafted and imaginative pieces of metal depicting the cultural and multilingual diversities of India.

Like Behra there are a few other craftsmen who are struggling everyday to conserve this 200 year old legacy.

Settled near the temple of Saptasajya in Odisha, Sadeibereni is a forgotten land which is admired for its ancient art forms.  The village and their oblivious art is the only source of their income which is now disappearing from the spectacle.

Sedeibereni craftsmen mould simple yet obscure designs of little elephants, show pieces and idols of Ganesh and Lakshmi which they sell for a modest price of $50-60 per kilogram. Ironically, their work of art is sold at almost $200-250 in the cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

Molding idols and dreams

These sculptures and idols which weigh about one or two kilograms are created through hand spinning the wax wires around the mold, after which they are rubbed on the buffing machine for a polished look.  A single sculpture takes 15 days for its completion and is sold for three thousand to Indian customers and six to seven thousand to foreigners. “Sometimes it takes several months for us to sell a single piece as there is no tourism in this part of Odisha. We are a family of seven and earns three thousand a month which makes our lives really hard” says Babita, Dhanasur’s wife and co-worker.

Even after facing such hardships, Sadeibereni craftsmen find content in their work. For them the survival of the art matters more than the money.

“Once I went to London along with few others from our village to teach this discarded style of making sculptures. But still we live like a stranger in our own land and no one praises us. We are still fighting for bread and butter” Dhanasur says.

Each piece is different from the other. Unlike the classical tradition of metal casting the Dhokra craftsman gives free bridle to his thoughts that led the mixture of metals from scraps to make objects of Utilitarian and ritualistic purpose for several communities.

Government’s support

The village which is a home for more than hundred skilled craftsmen, exports these carvings to metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur etc. “The state government has been very supportive in the endeavor to promote this artwork, they even provide them financial support whenever required along with medical and shelter facilities under Indira Awaas Yojana ” says Birendra, a dealer.

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Gurgaon Literature Festival Celebrates its Second Edition at Cyber Hub

The event was conducted with great pomp and show as it witnessed the coming in of enthusiastic crowd who had a great inclination for art and literature

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Literature
The event was conducted with great pomp and show as it witnessed the coming in of enthusiastic crowd who had a great inclination for art and Literature.

Gurgaon Literature Festival, the flagship literary event on art and culture rolled out its second edition from 16th to 17th November 2019 at Amphi Theatre & Aditya Birla Arena in DLF Cyber Hub. In its second edition, this renowned literary conclave brought together hundreds of giants from all around India. Mental health, depression, addiction in art and literature were the recurring topics and overall theme of the event to create awareness about mental health problems. The chief guest of the event was Mohammad Kaif and DGP Haryana Manoj Yadav.

The series of events encompassed book launch which was followed by expert panel discussion leading to the award ceremony. The book launch event was carried forward by Manoj Yadav, Haryana DGP at 1 pm. Among other books, Daggers of Treason by Niraj Shrivastav secured the esteemed opportunity to be launched at the Gurgaon Literature Festival. Prior to the event, the DGP threw light on the thin line connecting the working environment of police and mental health associated with it.

Literature
Gurgaon Literature Festival, the flagship literary event on art and culture rolled out its second edition from 16th to 17th November 2019 at Amphi Theatre & Aditya Birla Arena in DLF Cyber Hub.

Followed by an expert panel discussion that took place at 5 pm and The Session on Is mythology actually history? Arjun Raj Gaind, Niraj Srivastav, Antar and Sutapa Basu were among the speakers. Both of the days the GLF witnessed crowd from all across the NCR and other parts of the nation.

Literature
The event was conducted with great pomp and show as it witnessed the coming in of enthusiastic crowd who had a great inclination for art and Literature, Awards were also Distributed.

After the panel discussion, an award ceremony was conducted at 6 pm dissipating a token of appreciation to all the deserving candidates where Niraj Srivastav won the Best Historical Fiction award for his book Daggers of Treason. Daggers of Treason is a historical fiction novel, based on the life and reign of emperor Khurram Shahjahan. One of the four-book series titled ‘The Curse of the Mughal Series.’

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The event was conducted with great pomp and show as it witnessed the coming in of enthusiastic crowd who had a great inclination for art and literature. People who attended the event were greatly inspired by the plethora of perspective and consciousness a cultural event like this could instill in oneself.