- A village to host a museum that will put to display traditional food of the region through artistic designs crafted with the help of crops and plants
- Villagers are trained to create 300 wax sculptures out of traditional crops and dishes for the art-cum-agriculture festival in October
- The idea of the upcoming ‘land craft’ festival originated from the ‘Beej Utsav’
A group of artists at Paradsinga in Madhya Pradesh is integrating a new style of farming by merging art and agriculture.
Working together with the artists, the local community is preparing to host Paradsinga’s museum that will put to display traditional food of the region through artistic designs crafted with the help of crops and plants.
“The museum will connect the village directly to the rest of the world. And our villages should be the cultural hub,” says Shweta Bhattad, an artist and activist, who is preparing the village for a grand edition of the festival in October.
Bhattad has taken the lead in training the villagers to create 300 wax sculptures out of traditional crops and dishes, exhibiting the elegance of local recipes. For the first of its kind agriculture-cum-artwork exhibition, the village is being turned into an open site for seminars and workshops.
‘Dear Prime Minister Please Grow in India’, is the slogan of the ‘land art’ designed by the community with the help of leafy vegetables on a patch of farmland. The slogan aims to highlight the ongoing ‘Make in India’ campaign of the Prime Minister.
Keeping up with the ‘traditional spirit’ of the campaign, the villagers are using fresh organic produce as well as home-grown harvested seeds for the crafting out of plants. Other than the above message, the community aims to echo the importance of traditional farming methods over genetically modified varieties.
The idea of the upcoming ‘land craft’ festival originated from the ‘Beej Utsav’ (seed festival) which attracted about 50 visitors during the local exhibit.
“Just like there is artists’ exchange, we thought of creating a platform for farmers to exchange and meet and get involved. I realised that today a farmer feels very lonely,” says Bhattad.
Ms. Bhattad, who holds a Master’s degree in sculpture from M.S.U. Baroda has been camping for the same since 2013. She roped in other artists including Lalit Vikamshi, Tanmay Joshi, Aditi Bhattad, choreographer Parvinder Singh, for her innovative plan. To increase collaboration, Italian artist Virginia Zemati took to Skype for teaching the young village young girls to dance.
“I saw the bio-diversity of the village get killed because the farmers were encouraged to grow only Bt cotton. It also led to fall in the water table. The youth in the village were frustrated. We wanted to address all of this and I felt that if there is an art angle to what we say it will reach out to more people,” says Bhattad.
Bhattad, based in Nagpur, is attached to Paradsinga because her grandfather lives here. This makes her deeply inspired to work on the idea. Her plans for the festival are building on different sources of inspiration for the local village community.
During the monsoons when farms used to get totally cut off from village, it was difficult for farmers without networked roads to carry on with farming. Influenced by Bhattad, a 21-year-old farmer named Ganesh Dhoke has recently built a 500-metre road that connects about 50 farms to the village.
Other than training the village youth, she is actively involved in providing equipments and machinery for the task.
“As of now there are four farmers who have quit growing Bt Cotton completely and moved on to other crops,” says Ms. Bhattad.
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-By Maariyah Siddiquee, intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @MaariyahSid