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Mesmerizing Dussehra art exhibition in Mysore

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By Nithin Sridhar

Mysuru: A mesmerizing exhibition of arts and crafts was organized in the city’s Suchitra Gallery, located at Kalamandir as part of the ongoing Dasara (also known as Dussehra) celebrations. The Dasara art exhibition was attended and praised by the locals who visited the gallery.

9The exhibition, which has been organized by the ‘Lalita Kale Mattu Karakushala Upasamiti’- The Dasara sub-committee for Arts and Crafts, is showcasing more than 150 exhibits prepared by both amateurs as well as senior artists from across Karnataka.

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Speaking to NewsGram, Mr. V. A. Deshpande, Former Dean of CAVA (Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts) and Former Secretary of Lalita Kale sub-committee, said that this is the fourth edition of the exhibition and exhibits from eight categories have been included.

7The eight categories include: Traditional paintings like Mysore style and Tanjore Style paintings, Contemporary paintings, Traditional sculptures, Contemporary sculptures, Posters, Graphic prints, Crafts, and Photographs. The exhibition, which was inaugurated on October 14 is attracting an average of 150 visitors per day.

6Traditional category paintings included beautiful paintings of Narasimha, Lakshmi-Narayana, and Goddess Lalita. Posters on the themes of female foeticide, drunken driving, etc. were also exhibited.

10Other beautiful exhibits under painting categories included a beautiful painting of Buddha, a painting of a sculpture of a dancing goddess, a painting of a woman covered in scarf sitting in front of the mirror, and a painting titled ‘Aase’ (desire) that depicted a Ugra goddess at the front and a small girl at the background.

2In the category of Sculptures, a sculpture that depicted a water pot with a tap won the prize for combing elements of old and the new. A sculpture titled ‘Kutumba’ (family), and another depicting a couple in a romantic kiss were beautifully made.

4Among the crafts that were exhibited, dolls of Krishna and Gopis performing Raas Lila were eye-catching. Another well-made craft was the icon of Lord Ganapati.

5Apart from the exhibition, a 2-day camp of senior artists on October 16-17 has been organized in the gallery by the Dasara sub-committee. Deshpande said that the artists in the camp are painting on the theme of farmer suicides.

11Siddharame Gowda, an artist from Salgundi, near Mysore, who is participating in the camp, told NewsGram that through his painting, he will be portraying how farmers are the very basis of our society and how if farmers continue to die, the whole society itself will be uprooted.

3When asked about what other activities the sub-committee has planned this year, Deshpande shared that the funds allotted to the committee this year are only around 7 lakhs, which is much less than previous years. Dasara celebration as a whole has been scaled down this year following the drought and farmer suicides across the state.

8He added that the committee has organized two other activities on October 18, Sunday: A spot painting competition for children and felicitation of five senior artists. The exhibition will end on October 21.

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The history and development of Indian Handicrafts

Handicraft production was the second biggest source of employment in the pre-British India

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History of Indian handicrafts
History and development of Indian handicrafts. Pixabay
  • Handicrafts are the products which are mostly made by hand.
  • The history of Indian handicrafts can be divided into three eras: Pre British, British era, and Post Independence.
  • Clay craft is the earliest form of crafts to have existed in India.

New Delhi, September 28, 2017: Handicrafts in India have a long history. From ancient to the contemporary times, handcrafters have preserved this art. This art has been passed on from one generation to the next. Pottery making, in fact, is one of its forms, whose existence can be traced back to the Harappan Civilization.

What are handicrafts?

Handicrafts are products that are produced either completely by hands or involve tools. Mechanical tools could also be used as long as the manual contribution of the artisan remains the central component of the produced object. The production of these crafts require great skill and represents a particular expression, culture or tradition. Handicrafts could hold a number of values, some of them being aesthetic, cultural, decorative, utilitarian, religious, functional etc.

Historical Perspective of Indian Handicrafts:

To understand the historical perspective of Indian handicrafts, we need to go back in time. Let’s take a look at the development and decline of the artisanal production under three different time periods: before the arrival of British in India, Under colonial rule, and after India got independence.

History of Indian Handicrafts Before the arrival of British:

Art and crafts, as we have already mentioned, has been a tradition in India since long. Textiles, the most important of the Indian handicrafts, reached the zenith of perfection during the Mughal period. While under Mughals, it was the art of weaving and silk spinning that scored refinement; it was metal works, ivory works and jewelry that reached great potential during the Gupta period. The handicrafts production during that time can be divided in four broad categories. The first category dealt with the village economy under the jajmani system, in which the products were articles of daily use. The second category was integrated with the urban areas, where artisans produced crafts mainly for the purpose of sale. The third category concerns the dadni system, in which the merchants advanced cash to the artisans for production. The final category includes the Karkhanas, where skilled artisans produced luxury crafts under the command of kings or high nobles. Handicraft production was the second biggest source of employment in the pre-British India.

History of Indian Handicrafts Under Colonial Rule:

Under the British rule, production of Indian Handicrafts faced a rather sharp decline. When the East India Company was in power, it forced monopoly over the production of artisans from Bengal, and the price of these products were fixed 15-40% lower than their actual market price. What came as the biggest blow to the Indian artisans, however, was the removal of most of the Indian princes and nobles, which as an effect, led to the destruction of the artisan’s major market.

History of Indian Handicrafts Post-Independence:

The plight of the artisans and the cultural importance of artisanal production was taken into accord after India got independent. The establishment of All India Handicrafts Board in November 1952, to look at the problems and find solutions concerning Indian Handicrafts; the Handicrafts and Handloom Export Corporation of India Ltd in 1958, to promote handicrafts exports; Opening of Crafts Mueseum in 1953 in Delhi, to develop people’s interest in handmade Indian goods, all alluded to the idea that India had finally realized the importance of its art and crafts, and did not want to leave any stone unturned for its development.

A brief history and development of different form of handicrafts in India:

  • Clay craft and pottery: Clay craft is the earliest form of crafts to have existed, in India or in the world. A simple earthenware made of clay or ceramic has been created and used by the rural population for centuries. Potters have had an integral traditional link with the villages. The earthen pottery has only been developing, with the addition of new colors, figures of gods and goddesses, and decorative elements like flowers.

Main centers: Uttar Pradesh (Nizamabad and Chinhat), where the pottery is dark black; Bengal which produces large figures of gods, especially on the occasion of Durga Puja; In Kashmir, Srinagar is the place where special glazed pottery is made; Terra-cotta roof tiles are a tradition in Orissa and Martha Pradesh; both Rajasthan and Karnataka are popular for their black pottery; Manipur in the northeast is also famous for its pottery.

History of Indian handicrafts
Clay craft or pottery. Pixabay

  • Wood craft: Wood craft is widely produced and used throughout the country, with the most important products being household furnitures, carts and decorative objects. Baskets for storage and Toys, both for play and decoration are also made on a large scale.

Main centers: The elegant use of wood by skilled craftsmen can be seen in the houses at Gujrat and Kerala. Kashmir acquires a special position in this category of craft, with the walnut and deodar being the most favorite woods there. Saharanpur in U.P is also quite famous for its wooden furniture and objects of decoration.

History of Indian handicrafts
Wood craft. Pixabay

  • Metal craft: Copper was the most widely used metal in India before Iron joined in. Utensils, jewelry, dagger, axe heads etc in the harappan finds suggest that casting of copper objects made use of moulds. Bronze was also an important metal for the artisan production. The skills of craftsmen on metals are of various types, such as embossing, engraving, moulding etc.

Main centers: Kashmir (Srinagar) and Ladakh (Zanskar) are the two main centres. In Uttar Pradesh, Moradabad, Aligarh, Varanasi are the main centres of metal craft. Kerala specializes in the bell metal, whereas Bidar in Karnataka is noted for its Bidri work. Tribal groups in India also appear to hold their specific metal craft traditions.

History of Indian handicrafts
Metal craft. Pixabay

Also readMedha Tribe which masters in Weaving unique Bamboo Handicrafts are facing threat of extinction in Mysuru Region

  • Stone craft: Stones, without a shadow of doubt, have been there with humans since the earliest. They have been crafted into various products such as tools, decorative objects, sculptures and even jewelry. Statue of Yakshi of Didarganj is one fine piece of stone sculpture and dates back to the Maurya period. Majestic Qutub Minar in Delhi, and forts at Agra, Delhi, Jaipur are all works of stone craft.

Main centers: Rajasthan due to a large availability of stones tops the list of most prominent places for stone works. Salem district in Tamil Nadu also makes it to the list along with Gaya in Bihar. The stone cutters of Orissa also share a long history with the craft.

Main centers of Indian handicrafts
Stone craft. Pixabay

  • Ornaments and jewelry: From grass jewelry to that of gold and diamonds, one can witness great diversity when it comes to ornaments and jewelry in India. Gold, gems, silver, diamonds, other metals and precious stones are some materials used for making ornaments. Bones, horns, sea shells, lac, glass etc are also used in many  parts of the country to create ornaments. The Harappan finds revealed a number of ornaments, indicating their existence since long. There are many references in Ramayana and Mahabharata of gold being precious objects.

Main centers: Western ghats and Matheran in Maharashtra are noted for grass ornaments. Gujarat and Rajasthan share a rich and long tradition of jewelry. Kashmir is one of the most prominent places, again, with its exquisite jewelry, Varanasi and Awadh of U.P. are famous for gold studded jewelry.

History of Indian handicrafts
Ornaments and Jewelry. Pixabay

  • Textiles: India had had one of the richest traditions of textiles made from different raw materials. It won’t be wrong to say that Indian textiles tend to reflect Indian culture and religious beliefs. Bengal was the chief center of cotton production and Carpet weaving reached its zenith at the time of Mughals. The most commonly knows fabrics are cotton, wool and silk. The three main techniques used for patterning are weaving, embroidery and dyes.

Main centers: Orissa and Andhra Pradesh are famous for ikat fabric, Gujarat and Rajasthan for bandhani, U.P. and Bengal for jamdani fabrics. Rajasthan is also noted for Masoria fabric.

Indian handicrafts
Indian textiles. Pixabay

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Elephant Parade comes to India for the First Time: Statues of 101 life-sized baby elephants transformed into Beautiful works of Art

The parade will travel across the country from November 2017 to March 2018

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Elephant Parade
101 Elephant statues are decorated by artists for the Parade. Wikimedia
  • Elephant family, an NGO, organizes the annual exhibition elephant parade
  • The Elephant Parade is happening in India for the first time
  • The NGO raises awareness for the importance of saving elephant species

August 24, 2017: Statues of 101 life-sized baby elephant that have been transformed into beautiful works of art will be exhibited in Indian cities as part of the 22nd edition of the international “Elephant Parade”, happening in the country for the first time, it was announced here on Wednesday.

“Elephant Parade” is an annual exhibition, that is organized in different cities across the world by NGO Elephant Family to raise awareness for the need for conserving elephants.

ALSO READ: A 20-year-old Elephant gets blessing at a Kerala Church

The organizers say that 20 per cent of the net profits from the show are donated to elephant welfare and conservation projects.

The parade will travel across the country from November 2017 to March 2018.

For this, leading Indian artists, fashion designers, design institutes, tribal painters, and celebrities were engaged to turn 101 elephant sculptures into unique masterpieces, creating a striking spectacle of color to celebrate one of India’s most beloved and endangered animals.

The painted elephants will be displayed in herds in prominent cities to be photographed, hugged and kissed by admiring audiences as part of what has become recognized as the world’s biggest public art event.

The parade aims to generate funds to secure 101 elephant corridors across India for the pachyderms, who face the risk of displacement through fragmentation of their habitat and human disturbances.

Thus, after the public displays across Indian cities, the elephants will then be sold at two high profile auctions in Mumbai and London to raise funds.

“We will celebrate the magnificence of the iconic Asian elephant, generating mass awareness of their plight and making everyone smile at the same time,” said Ruth Powys-Ganesh, the CEO of Elephant Family in India.

“With the support of the world’s top creatives, the 101 painted elephants will move us closer to our target to secure a network of 101 elephant corridors – vital strips of habitat that reconnect India’s forests, the number one priority for this species,” she added.

Other Asian cities where the parade has been held include Suzhou, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Hong Kong. It has also been held in Taiwan. (IANS)

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India-Bahrain Art Exchange: The event in New Delhi to Feature Work of 30 Artists from across the World

Indian art scene is considered among the most developed in the region with great talent, therefore, India will be a huge platform for artists to showcase the artwork of Bahraini artists

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Encouragement of Indian artists and Bahraini artists
A painter working for Islamic Art annual fair. Wikimedia
  • Rouble Nagi has teamed up with Kaneka Sabharwal to show an initiative, that aims at connecting creative enthusiasts from Bahrain and India
  • The event will be conducted later this year, in Mumbai and New Delhi 
  • The event is set to feature work of around 30 artists including the significant presence of Bahraini female artists 

New Delhi, August 17, 2017: Indian art doesn’t seem to show any signs of abatement in the international art world, and eminent artist and philanthropist, Rouble Nagi is all pumped up to show the master that she is.

Rouble Nagi Art Foundation has teamed up with Kaneka Sabharwal to show an initiative, first of its kind, that welcomes contemporary artists from the entire world and aims at connecting creative enthusiasts from Bahrain and India through an unparalleled exchange program. The initiative is supported by the government of India.

“I was very keen to create something that will fall in line with the emergent global consciousness that has entered the international art scene. I wanted to introduce the world to contemporary Indian art and bring global art to the country so that the relationship with art is much more intimate and undeviating. The event won’t be limited to showcasing art but also consists of art-talks so as to open a dialogue between international artists,” mentioned Rouble Nagi, in the ANI report.

“This initiative aims to give a platform to Bahraini and Indian artists, exposing them to local and international aspirational values, as well as creating economic capital from the cultural capital,” she added.

ALSO READ: Indian art gaining worldwide recognition. 

The event which is to be conducted later this year in Mumbai and New Delhi will be held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of the King of Bahrain, President of The Supreme Council For Women ArtBab. She produces art on an iPad, and is going to visit India for the very first time.

The event is all set to feature work of around 30 artists, ranging from impressive video art installations, eclectic pop art, to contemporary sculptures and the significant presence of Bahraini female artists.

Balqees Fakhro, Faika Al Hasan, Jamal Abdul Rahim, Khalid Farhan, Lulwa Al Khalifa, Nabeela Al Khayer and Omar Al Rashid are some of the Bahraini artists who will be showcasing their works.

There will also be an exhibition of the artistic dexterity of the underprivileged children, who are supported by the Rouble Nagi Art Foundation.

Kaneka Sabharwal, Co-Founder of ArtBAB and Founder of Art Select and Jonathan Watkins of Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery, who is also chair of ArtBAB’s international selection committee, will be the curator of the event.

“Bahrain, which traces its roots to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Dilmun Empire, has a rich history of art and many historians assert that the art came to the kingdom of Bahrain from India. The Bahrainis are known to have some of the best art collections and I want to introduce art collectors and enthusiasts around the world to the talent of Bahraini artists,” noted Kaneka, who moved to Bahrain in 2009.

According to Dr. E M Janaki, CEO Tamkeen, art sector has not only locally but across the region, achieved importance as an engine of economic growth.

ALSO READ: Indian art: The folkish inclination 

Indian art scene is considered among the most developed in the region with great talent, therefore, India will be a huge platform for artists to showcase the artwork of Bahraini artists.

The vision is to bring together an art alliance that isn’t limited by geographies and widens the conception of art, in regard to which, the multi-cultural arty affair will be host to a bevy of notable guests from various spheres, including political and corporate.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha